Bipartisan legislation expected to be introduced to create 'antisemitism monitors' for universities

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has spoken out against the legislation, arguing that it is unconstitutional. 

Published: April 27, 2024 11:32am

Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) are planning to introduce legislation that would place federally sanctioned "antisemitism monitors" on some college campuses. 

According to Axios, the bill is titled the "College Oversight and Legal Updates Mandating Bias Investigations and Accountability Act – or COLUMBIA Act."

The legislation would have the Department of Education send a "third-party antisemitism monitor" to colleges that receive federal funding and evaluate "the progress that a college or university has made toward combating antisemitism."

If colleges don't comply, their funding would be revoked. 

"My office and I have spoken with countless Jewish students from campuses across America who feel deeply unsafe, purely as a result of their religious and ethnic identity," Torres said in a statement.

Anti-Israel protests have erupted at numerous U.S. colleges, most notably at Columbia University, where several protesters have already been arrested. 

Despite the arrests, protests resumed and the university’s president decided to move classes online on Monday to protect Jewish students.

After setting deadlines for the encampments to be removed, the university president backed down each time, saying that negotiations with the protesters were continuing. But on Friday, the protesters said they had reached an impasse in the negotiations and planned to keep their encampment until their demands are met, namely that the university cut all financial ties to Israel, according to The Associated Press.  

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has spoken out against the legislation, arguing that it is unconstitutional. 

"Some of my colleagues are introducing legislation to create federally sanctioned 'antisemitism monitors' at colleges," Massie wrote on the social media platform, X. "I'll vote No. Policing speech, religion, and assembly is not the role of the federal government. In fact it’s expressly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution." 

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