UNC agrees to make changes after 'anti-Semitic' rapper controversy
UNC has agreed to change its discrimination policy in addition to other remedies in an agreement with the Department of Education.
In April, a university department hosted a rapper who some claimed used anti-Semitic rhetoric.
The University of North Carolina and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights reached an agreement to settle a complaint filed against the university for hosting a rapper some said uttered anti-Semitic lyrics.
Rep. George Holding sent a letter in April to Secretary Betsy DeVos calling for an investigation to be opened after the Department of Education partially funded a “Conflict over Gaza” conference, featuring a rapper that some deemed as anti-Semitic.
"Let's try it together. I need your help. I cannot be anti-Semitic alone," Nafar said before singing, "don't think of Rihanna when you sing this, don't think of Beyonce - think of Mel Gibson. I'm in love with a Jew/Oh/I fell in love with a Jew/Oh/Her skin is white and my skin is brown, she was going up, up and I was going down, ”rapper Tamer Nafar sang at the conference.
According to The Daily Tar Heel, a university-wide email was sent out to the campus community going over what UNC and the OCR agreement contained. The email said that UNC will issue a statement reiterating their commitment to having a harassment-free environment, “ including but not limited to anti-Semitic harassment."
UNC will now include a statement in their discrimination policy as well, which states that harassment based on ethnicity or perceived ancestry, and must describe ways in which anti-Semitism manifests at UNC.
The actions taken by UNC must also be “consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” according to the report.
Additionally, the university will now include a harassment component in each orientation session for students, and training sessions for faculty.
Carly F. Gammill, director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism told Campus Reform that they are pleased UNC is taking steps “toward providing an educational environment for Jewish students that is free from hostility.”
“We hope the administration will also send the clear message to each academic department on campus that neither spewing antisemitism nor engaging in harassment of Jewish students will be tolerated,” Gammill said. “We will continue to monitor the situation at UNC with the expectation that these measures will be effective in protecting all students, including the Jewish population, on campus.”
The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, the organization that hosted the event, received a $235,000 grant from the DOE in 2018.
Following the event, multiple department deans at the university requested that their donations be returned, as reported by Campus Reform. The Interim UNC Chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz said at the time that he was “very disturbed” and “disheartened by what I saw,” commenting on the rapper’s performance.
Campus Reform reached out to DOE but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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