US Commission on Civil Rights

Public Education Campaign to End Campus Anti-Semitism

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Who should you contact?

           Campus Entities 

The Commission encourages you to first attempt to resolve an anti-Semitic incident that occurred to you or someone on your campus and that took place on your campus through your college or university administration because your academic institution needs to know about them, the frequency with which such incidents occur, the severity of incidents, when and where they occur, and to whom they are mostly directed, whether it is students, faculty, or staff/administrators. Your campus administration will know where to direct you for assistance. In addition, such information enables your campus administration to determine the appropriate action to take to make the campus a safer, non-threatening, non-harassing place for its Jewish students.

 Campus Administration

 Campus Police Department

 Campus Jewish Groups  

It is usually a good practice to contact your campus administration and/or campus police immediately when anti-Semitic incidents occur on campus. Your campus administration cannot address these problems unless they are aware of them.

 Community Entities  

In cases of possible criminal activity, the Commission encourages you to also notify your local police department and local and state civil rights agencies.

Local Police Department  

Local and State Civil Rights Agencies

If you are uncomfortable going alone, ask a friend, student counselor, faculty member, or anyone that you trust to accompany you. Do not delay.  

Private Organizations

Private organizations may be able to assist you in addressing anti-Semitism that you and/or others have experienced on your campus.  

Federal Agencies

Federal agencies may be able to assist you in filing a civil rights complaint and/or determine if your civil rights have been violated. 

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is prepared to assist you in determining which organization(s) to contact.  

The following information on some of the civil rights responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice may assist you.

 U.S. Department of Education 

The U.S. Department of Educationís (1-800-421-3481 and www.ed.gov) Office for Civil Rights enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial or ethnic discrimination at institutions that receive financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Most colleges and universities receive this assistance.

 

It is important to remember that the Office for Civil Rightsí jurisdiction is based on ancestry or ethnic characteristics, since it does not have jurisdiction to investigate claims of religious discrimination per se. Hon. Stephanie Monroe, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights,has recently stated that the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights has subject matter jurisdiction.

 

 

Academic agencies and institutions receiving federal financial assistance include: 

 

    • 50 state education agencies and their subrecipients

 

    • vocational rehabilitation agencies

 

    • education and vocational rehabilitation agencies of the District of Columbia and of the territories and possessions of the United States

 

    • 16,000 local education systems

 

    • 3,200 colleges and universities

 

    • 10,000 proprietary institutions; and other institutions

 

    • other institutions, such as libraries and museums

If you are a university student, the chances are very high that your institution receives federal education funds.

For more information on how the Office for Civil Rights may help you:  see

        Title VI and Title IX Religious Discrimination in Schools and Colleges

      It is important to remember that the Office for Civil Rightsí jurisdiction is based on ancestry or ethnic characteristics, since it does not have jurisdiction to investigate claims of religious discrimination per se. Hon. Stephanie Monroe, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, has recently stated that the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights has subject matter jurisdiction.

        OCR Letters: Institute for Jewish and Community Research

Hon. Stephanie Monroe, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights,

has stated that this letter no longer reflects the policy of the Office for Civil Rights.

              

Do not forget that some anti-Semitic expressions are protected by the FIRST AMENDMENT even if you may find them offensive. Nevertheless, university leadership has a moral obligation to condemn even those forms of bigotry which the government is forbidden from regulating under the First Amendment. In doing so, university leadership protects studentsí right to an education in a non-hostile and non-threatening environment. 

U.S. Department of Justice 

The U.S. Department of Justice (1-877-292-3804 and www.usdoj.gov/crt/edo) Civil Rights Divisionís Educational Opportunities Section enforces Titles IV and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

  • Under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the attorney general of the United States has authority to take legal action when someone has been discriminated against because of their religious faith, race, skin color, or ethnic background if the attorney general:

 

  • receives a written complaint that a student has been denied admission to or not permitted to continue in attendance at a public college by reason of race, color, religion, sex or national origin

 

  • believes the complaint is meritorious

 

  • certifies that the complainant is unable to maintain legal proceedings and that instituting an action will materially further desegregation in public education

 

  • has given notice of such complaint to the appropriate college authority and certifies that such authority has had a reasonable time to resolve the complaint

You must be aware that this statute can only be applied to public colleges. A public college is an institution of higher education that is operated by a state or governmental agency, or operated predominantly through the use of government funds.

 For information on how the Civil Rights Divisionís Educational Opportunities Section may help you: see 

Under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the attorney general of the United States has authority to become involved in a civil rights court case that:

        concerns the general public importance

        has commenced in a court of the United States with the goal of ending the denial of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin 

For information on how the Civil Rights Divisionís Educational Opportunities Section may help you: see