Education Department investigating claims of anti-Semitism at University of Vermont

The U.S. Department of Education has confirmed that they will be investigating a complaint which accused University of Vermont (UVM) of not taking sufficient action to clamp down on anti-Semitic behavior on their campus.

Jewish students have said that UVM administrators either failed to respond or didn’t take enough action to several incidents last year, which included Zionist students being excluded from campus groups, a social media post from a teaching assistant which talked about giving lower grades to Zionist students and a complaint about rocks being thrown at the Hillel building.

“We’re really tired of not seeing anything be done,” Avi Zatz, a former University of Vermont student involved in the complaint, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Twenty Jewish organizations, which include the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and StandWithUs, have since responded to the reports of anti-Semitism, saying that they were “alarmed, disappointed and troubled” by UVM President Suresh V. Garimella‘s reaction to several claims of anti-Semitic incidents by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

“Simply put, President Garimella fails to condemn the existence of significant antisemitism on UVM’s campus,” said the statement. “And instead of summoning the courage that other university leaders across the country have shown in acknowledging the problem or offering support for Jewish students who are fearful about identifying publicly as Jewish, the UVM President’s statement doubles down and refuses to take responsibility.”

In a separate joint statement, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Jewish on Campus, who filed the complaint, blasted UVM’s “astonishingly inadequate and offensive response.”

“President Garimella’s statement shows neither reflection, nor understanding, nor remorse,” the statement said, adding: “Instead, Garimella demonstrates only the dismissive attitude that has left Jewish students vulnerable to harassment and discrimination, blaming the victims who blew the whistle on UVM anti-Semitism rather than pledging to respond to the problems that federal investigators will now examine.”




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