House Republicans press Education Secretary over efforts to combat antisemitism

The GOP members of the Education and Workforce Committee urged the Department of Education to move faster to issue regulations on campus antisemitism

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Virginia Foxx, (R-NC)

Every Republican on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which is currently probing antisemitism on college campuses, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Monday questioning his and the department’s commitment to combating antisemitism.

The letter focuses on a recent announcement from the department that it would not issue regulations reinforcing a 2019 executive order designating antisemitism as a form of discrimination prohibited on college campuses under the Civil Rights Act until December 2024. 

While the executive order is being implemented and enforced, the lawmakers called the delay in the policymaking process “appalling” and an abdication of the department’s “responsibilities to Jewish students. 

“To be clear: not only has the Department failed to meet its obligation to create rules necessary for the execution of the EO, but it is also delaying any such action by another year,” the letter reads. “This is particularly egregious in the face of increased anti-Jewish hatred sweeping across American schools and college campuses which deserves action from the Department now, not later.”

The lawmakers said that this delay “has left institutions of higher education and schools unprepared for and unwilling to address the fires of antisemitism that have swept campuses this fall.”

The committee members demanded that the department provide an explanation of why the regulations will be delayed by the end of the year.

A group of Jewish lawmakers pressed senior administration officials on this same issue at a meeting last week on Capitol Hill, describing the proposed timeline as unacceptable.

The lawmakers further accused the department of being  unresponsive to Jewish groups, parents and students, and speculated that the department may not be taking antisemitism investigations seriously or is approaching them with “predetermined” outcomes — pointing to comments by Cardona indicating hesitance to withhold federal funds from schools.

Since the executive order on antisemitism was announced, the department has investigated and reached settlements with several universities over antisemitism on their campuses, including under Cardona’s leadership.

The letter was organized by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who chairs the committee.

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