The Trump administration is investigating a 2011 case of alleged anti-semitism at Rutgers University.
A student group recently charged Rutgers University with creating a hostile environment for students of the Jewish faith, according to a report from Politico. The Department of Education under the Trump administration announced that it will be investigating the public university’s conduct during a 2011 event that students claim amounted to anti-semitism.
The controversy surrounds a 2011 pro-Palestine rally. Jewish students claimed that the rally created a hostile environment for them on campus.
Kenneth Marcus, who is the head of the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, expanded the definition of anti-semitism to include acts the delegitimize the state of Israel or “holding it to a double standard not expected of other democratic nations.”
Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill told the press that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos plans to look closely at the facts of the Rutgers case before she decides whether or the department will act.
“Secretary DeVos has made clear that OCR will look at the specific facts of each case and make determinations accordingly,” Hill said. “The facts in the Rutgers case, many of which were disregarded by the previous administration, are troubling.”
Groups like the American Jewish Committee and the Zionist Organization of America have strongly condemned acts of hostility towards Jewish students on campus. “Hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine try to convince others that their attacks on Zionism and Israel are legitimate political discourse,” leaders from the two groups said in a statement. “But as the State Department definition of anti-Semitism recognizes, these attacks are often a mask for Jew-hatred, plain and simple.”
Civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have pushed back against proposed policies that would force the Education Department to investigate claims of discrimination made during campus rallies and speeches. The groups argue that broad policies could allow intellectual criticism to be construed as discrimination.