New York, NY – Today, Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), America's unified alumni voice countering antisemitism on college and university campuses, is calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to invite the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to address the constant stream of antisemitic hate at the City University of New York (CUNY).
The call to action is modeled after a settlement agreed to by the University of Vermont (UVM) that sought to address antisemitic harassment within the State Agricultural College. In April, OCR resolved an investigation into UVM’s failure to adequately respond to reports of antisemitic harassment. According to the investigation, the university received notice of antisemitic incidents but did not investigate through its Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (AAEO) Office. The allegations included student groups excluding Jewish students, students throwing rocks at a building housing Hillel and student dormitory space, and a teaching assistant posting on social media about not giving Jewish students course participation credit.
"While CUNY leadership is finally acknowledging their antisemitism problem, administrators have yet to take meaningful action and the climate for Jewish students on campus is not improving. The UVM model provides a pathway out of the darkness for CUNY. I hope leaders like Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams will answer the call and encourage OCR to get involved at CUNY," said ACF Executive Director Avi D. Gordon, highlighting recent incidents:
- A featured speaker at CUNY Law’s commencement ceremony harangued the audience about the perfidious nature of Jews and Israel, using thinly veiled tropes like ‘ending Zionism around the world,’ that were met with applause from the Law School’s Dean, Sudha Setty;
- CUNY Law’s Student Government Association passed a resolution to ban Hillel and other mainstream Jewish institutions;
- Faculty endorsed the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign;
- A CUNY group issued a statement pledging to create programs and networks to challenge and critique Jews so that they may “unlearn” Zionism and their Jewish identity;
- Nerdeen Kiswani, CUNY Law’s graduation commencement speaker in 2022, praised axe-wielding terrorists who murdered three Jewish civilians and called to “globalize the intifada” and eradicate the State of Israel;
- Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez refused to take action, including dodging a City Council hearing on antisemitism in the university system.
Earlier this year, UVM entered into a resolution agreement to ensure full satisfaction of its obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The university committed to the following:
- Review and revise its policies and procedures to include a description of forms of discrimination that can manifest in the university environment, and to ensure that the university’s response to notice of discrimination including national origin harassment on the basis of shared ancestry is consistent with Title VI;
- Develop a protocol clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the AAEO Office and Bias Response Team to monitor implementation of the protocol by the provost;
- Train university staff responsible for investigation of Title VI complaints;
- Train university senior leadership, all other staff, and students on the Title VI prohibition against harassment based on national origin, including shared ancestry, in the university’s programs and activities;
- Issue a statement with a commitment to address discrimination based on shared ancestry, including antisemitism, within 30 days of the signing of the agreement and again with its annual anti discrimination statement;
- Review the university’s 2022 Climate Survey results to determine if other actions, beyond those memorialized in the agreement, are needed to improve the campus climate;
- Submit to OCR during the monitoring of the agreement copies of case files of complaints of antisemitism filed during the preceding academic year.
About ACF: Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) leverages the unique power of alumni to combat antisemitism on college campuses. ACF helps organize and cultivate alumni chapters for colleges and universities across the country, equipping members with tools, tactics, and training to proactively engage with administrators. Learn more at www.campusfairness.org.