The Department of Education has launched investigations into alleged incidents of bigotry and Islamophobia

Julia Nickinson/AP

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks to students during a visit to Towson University to discuss antisemitism on college campuses, Nov. 2, 2023.


Washington
CNN
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The Department of Education has launched an investigation into seven schools, including Cornell University, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving complaints about incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

The investigations included five anti-Semitism cases and two Islamophobia cases.

These are the first investigations into this Kind of through Department of Education after the October 7 Hamas terror attack Attack on Israel.

Schools were notified of the investigations within the last 24 hours. They include one K-12 school, the Maize Unified School District in Kansas, and six colleges: Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, Cornell University in New York, Columbia University in New York, Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science. of the Arts in New York and the University of Pennsylvania.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told CNN on Friday that he expects more inquiries to come.

A list of K-12 schools and colleges under investigation for potential discrimination based on shared ancestry or racial characteristics has now been released. Department of Education website And updated weekly.

At the end of the investigation, the Department of Education will make recommendations to the schools. Schools can lose federal funding if they don’t comply.

“If an institution refuses to follow the law to protect students, we will withhold dollars,” Cardona said.

The hearings were initiated under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which states that universities and K-12 schools have a responsibility to provide an environment free of discrimination to all students. Anyone can file a Title VI complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

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The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has heightened tensions on college campuses. student at Cornell University Online posts threatening to kill and harm Jewish students have been indicted and federal charges have been filed against a University of Pennsylvania. Recently alerted the FBI A series of threatening anti-Semitic emails sent to staff at an Ivy League school.

“The intensity is really high,” Cardona said.

“We have to match that with the level of response that meets the moment. We have to be listening to our students; we have to let them know that they will be safe in our schools β€” we’re not going to tolerate hate or threats on campus,” he added.

Earlier this month, The Education Department has issued guidelines It reminds colleges and K-12 schools that they have a legal obligation to address incidents of discrimination β€” including against Jews, Israelis, Muslims, Arabs or Palestinians.

The department recently updated its discrimination complaint formSpecifies that Title VI’s protection from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin extends to students based on Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh or other shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

Department officials Conducting listening sessions Meet with K-12 school leaders this week to learn how they’re keeping students safe in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict. A webinar series is expected to launch in December to help school personnel and community-based organizations develop strategies to prevent and respond to hate-based threats, bullying and harassment.

β€œIn our schools, there is no place for hatred in time. “When students are targeted because they are Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, or of any other ethnic or shared ancestry, schools must take steps to ensure a safe and inclusive educational environment where all can learn freely,” Cardona said. In a statement on Thursday.

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CNN’s Avery Lotz contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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