CUNY, University of Michigan mishandled antisemitic and Islamophobia, Education Department finds

The schools resolved a total of 11 complaints with the agreements.

Published: June 18, 2024 9:34am

The City University of New York and the University of Michigan did not adequately address reports of discrimination against Jewish, Arab or Muslim students, according to the U.S. Education Department.

The schools both reached resolutions with the department's Office for Civil Rights, the federal agency announced Monday, making them the first of a growing list of schools being investigated by the department over allegations of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

The schools both agreed to provide training for campus public safety officers and employees as part of the resolutions.

The University of Michigan received 75 reports of discrimination involving shared ancestry starting in 2022. The Education Department said those reports included when pro-Palestinian protesters shouted in support of Nazis, or when a Jewish student reported being harassed by a graduate student instructor. In both examples, the school "did not assess the existence of a hostile environment or take remedial action," the agency said. The agreement resolves two complaints against the Michigan school.

The Education Department does not state how many reports of discrimination CUNY received, but the agreement resolves nine complaints against the school dating back to 2019.

Examples of these complaints include how students and faculty disrupted a required course at Hunter College, part of the CUNY system, to discuss Palestine in 2021. Jewish students said they were afraid, and one student said that when Jewish students tried to speak, they were told to be "listening, not speaking," per the Education Department.

Additionally, the agency found that CUNY "may treat students differently based on their national origin/shared ancestry with respect to implementation of policies and procedures governing student conduct and events on campus."

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