Senate Republicans claim Department of Education has funded antisemitic programs on college campuses
‘We write with grave concern that the Department of Education, over the course of decades, has been allowing taxpayer-funded antisemitism to take place on college campuses,’ 15 senators said
Photo by Colin Myers/Claflin University/HBCU via Getty Images
Senate Republicans raised concerns in a new letter sent yesterday that the Department of Education has for years funded antisemitic programs on college campuses with taxpayer money, and accused the department of having failed to enforce federal law.
“We write with grave concern that the Department of Education, over the course of decades, has been allowing taxpayer-funded antisemitism to take place on college campuses throughout the United States,” 15 senators wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “We are especially concerned the Department of Education is failing to enforce a Higher Education Act (HEA), Title VI requirement that college programs that receive federal funds must ‘reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views.’”
The letter was signed by Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Budd (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Cornyn (R-TX), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Hoeven (R-ND), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter alleges that many of the Near East and Middle East-focused programs that receive DOE funding disproportionately focus their curricula and public output on criticizing Israel, in a way the senators say meets the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism.
“The obsessive negative focus on Israel and the Jewish people is rampant on college campuses throughout the United States,” the senators claim. “Because of the widespread antisemitism taking place on college campuses, many Jewish and pro-Israel students no longer feel safe.”
They add that “a core reason college campuses are plagued by antisemitism is because professors who teach the curriculum indoctrinate students with anti-Israel bias and viewpoints.” The letter cites statistics linking anti-Israel viewpoints among professors to higher rates of antisemitic and anti-Israel attacks on students on campus.
The lawmakers also say that the DOE “does not evaluate Title VI applicants’ statements regarding diverse perspectives.”
The senators request that, by April 28, the Department of Education provide information on the extent to which schools have used federal funds to support speakers and programs meeting the IHRA definition of antisemitism and whether and how the department has evaluated the Title VI viewpoint-diversity statements.
The lawmakers ask for an estimate of “how many colleges and universities… have become unsafe for Jewish students” and how the department can “ensure Jewish students have demonstrated reasons to feel safe on campus.” They also request a plan for ensuring that “programs and professors on college and university campuses receiving HEA Title VI funding are in compliance with federal requirements requiring diverse perspectives.”