Columbia & Emory University Under Investigation for Campus Discrimination

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News May 07, 2024

Columbia University library

The US Department of Education has opened an investigation into Columbia and Emory University for severe anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim discrimination on campus.

Columbia and Emory are among the institutions where an investigation into a “hostile environment” for students with Palestinian, Muslim, or Arab ancestry will begin, reports.

Palestine Legal, an advocacy group focused on the rights of Palestinians, filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on behalf of the student group Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine and four other students.

Students accused the school administration of anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and Islamophobic harassment on campus, including death threats, after they have openly opposed Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Similarly, on April 5, 2024, the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Georgia (CAIR-Georgia) and Palestine Legal filed an 18-page complaint against Emory University.

“The students filed 15 cases through the Emory University system but nothing was done to address their issues and fears. Some students were too afraid to leave their college dorms,” Azka Mahmood, executive director of Cair, told Middle East Eye.

Earlier in January, several human rights associations wrote to Emory University expressing concerns that the school was violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based on origin, race, or color. In their letter, groups called on the university to address students’ concerns.

“We write to express our concern about the University’s failure to protect its students from these bigoted doxing and harassment campaigns and the lack of official, public support shown to Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students.

The University’s largely one-sided public statements since the incidents of October 7, 2023, have, in fact, invited active harm, harassment, and intimidation of students on Emory’s campus,” the letter said.

Among their requirements for the university are to publish a statement reiterating that students are allowed to advocate for Palestinian rights, to condemn online doxing, as well as to condemn all forms of racism and Islamophobia.

Complainants insist that Arab and Palestinian students have faced verbal harassment on campus. They also say these students have been individually targeted on social media.

The decision on the investigation into universities comes days after police arrested dozens of students protesting against Israel’s war in Palestine.

At least 90 student encampments have been set up across universities in the United States. Protesters have been asking institutions to end collaboration with Israeli companies tied with Israel’s military.

Protests over the Israel-Hamas war began at Columbia University on April 17 and spread to other campuses nationwide and around the world.

On April 18, police arrested more than 100 protesters at the Ivy League school in New York while trying to end their encampment on campus. Meanwhile, at Emory, at least 28 people were arrested during a pro-Palestine protest on April 25.

Read Also:

>> Columbia University Cancels Graduation Ceremony Due to Student Protests Over Gaza War

>> Nearly 300 Arrested at Columbia University, City College of New York

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