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US says 2 universities fell short in addressing anti-Arab hate

June 18, 2024 at 9:47 am

Students holding Palestinian flags and banners gather the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center during pro-Palestinian protests against the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza, in New York, United States on May 14, 2024 [Fatih Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images]

The University of Michigan and the City University of New York have fallen short in addressing recent incidents of an anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Semitic nature, the US Education Department said on Monday. The department also reached resolutions with both universities over complaints of such incidents, explained Reuters.

The universities agreed to take some steps such as re-opening some past complaints, reporting their results to the government, training personnel on how to respond to claims of discrimination and conducting more surveys to assess such discriminatory experiences, the Education Department pointed out.

These marked the first probes to be concluded among the several that were launched by the department since October, when Israel launched its latest bombing campaign in Gaza. Some probes involved incidents from before the war began. According to the Education Department, the universities did not comply with the requirement to remedy a hostile environment.

The incidents that were looked into ranged from threats reported by a Jewish student on social media to pro-Palestinian students reporting that they were called “terrorists”. The universities confirmed the resolution agreement and said that they opposed all kinds of discrimination and harassment.

Advocacy groups say that incidents of hate and bias against Jews, Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in the United States, Israel’s key ally, have gone up amid the war. Alarming incidents include the fatal stabbing in October of a 6-year-old Palestinian American child in Illinois; the November shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Vermont; and the February stabbing of a Palestinian American man in Texas.

A former Cornell University student pleaded guilty in April to posting online threats, including of death and violence, against Jewish students on campus. There have also been allegations of alarming rhetoric in some recent college campus protests.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s eight-month-old assault on the Gaza Strip, Gaza health officials say. The war has also displaced almost the whole 2.3 million Palestinians in the enclave, caused widespread hunger and led to allegations of genocide, which Israeli denies.

READ: Israel forces kill another journalist in Gaza, bringing death toll to 151 since 7 October