published : 2023-11-10

Education Department Vows to Pull Federal Funding if Schools Fail to Combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Secretary Miguel Cardona pledges to investigate complaints and take action against universities' inaction

An image of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona discussing the importance of combating antisemitism and Islamophobia, taken with a Nikon D850.

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has taken a strong stance against antisemitism and Islamophobia on school campuses, vowing to withhold federal funding from universities that fail to combat these issues. The Education Department's Office of Civil Rights has received several complaints about incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia, particularly following the recent Hamas attack on Israel.

In an interview with CNN, Cardona expressed his desire to provide guidance and support to universities in addressing these challenges. However, he emphasized that if universities refuse to comply with necessary actions, the department has the authority to withhold federal dollars. Cardona also acknowledged the importance of upholding students' rights to free speech while ensuring a safe learning environment for all.

A protest against antisemitism and Islamophobia on a college campus, with students holding signs advocating for inclusivity, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The Biden administration released a statement highlighting the responsibility of schools receiving federal financial assistance to address racial or ethnic discrimination. The Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to universities reminding them of their legal obligations under Title VI to provide a discrimination-free environment for students of Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian backgrounds.

Pro-Palestinian rallies and statements supporting Hamas have sparked controversy on college campuses across the nation during the recent Israel-Hamas war. Some student groups have faced scrutiny for their endorsement of acts regarded as supporting 'martyrs' and 'liberators.' In response, universities have taken action, such as reportedly disbanding the Students for Justice in Palestine at Brandeis University.

A group of diverse students engaging in a peaceful dialogue about free speech and the importance of creating a safe learning environment, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

As the Education Department investigates complaints and works towards creating a safe environment for all students, Secretary Cardona remains committed to ensuring that antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place on college campuses or in schools. His unwavering stance on these issues underscores the government's dedication to promoting inclusivity and combating discrimination in education.