The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it has opened a formal investigation into a complaint alleging Jewish students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have faced an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment.
OCR evaluates all complaints it receives, but it only pursues investigations in those it determines warrant a more thorough examination.
The complaint OCR will investigate was submitted on behalf of UIUC's Jewish students and alleges that UIUC has allowed a hostile environment to proliferate on its campus in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was prepared by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP together with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, in consultation with the Jewish United Fund and Hillel International.
On Nov. 16, the university, in coordination with a number of Jewish groups, announced preliminary steps to address the anti-Semitism described in the complaint. The university issued a statement with the Jewish groups condemning anti-Semitism, acknowledging the severity of the problems at UIUC, and recognizing the importance of Zionism to Jewish identity. The university also pledged to work with the Jewish community to implement concrete remedies. The Jewish groups noted that the "statement and the commitment it demonstrates is important, however it is only a first step" and they "look forward to ongoing collaborative work with the Chancellor and his team to convert the objectives…into action."