Department of Education probes University of Vermont for ignoring anti-Semitism

The Department of Education (DOEd) launched a Title VI probe into the University of Vermont (UVM) after the school allegedly ignored complaints about anti-Semitism.

The complaint was filed by the Brandeis Center.

The Department of Education (DOEd) launched a Title VI probe into the University of Vermont (UVM) after the school allegedly ignored complaints about anti-Semitism. 

In 2021, the Brandeis Center filed a complaint against UVM to the DOEd that alleged Jewish students were “subjected to a campaign of intimidation, harassment and discrimination targeting them on the basis of their Jewith ethnic identity.”

The Center claimed that Jewish students were also “excluded from university clubs and support groups.” As a result, it recommended the DOEd investigate the university “for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Title VI “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.” In 2019, President Donald Trump expanded the act to include anti-Semitism. 

It shall be the policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI,” the Dec. 2021 executive order ruled.

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The complaint provided examples of alleged on-campus discrimination. The file cited a May 12, 2021 incident in UVM Empowering Survivors, a student organization on campus, announced that it would block Zionist students on social media. Those students would also allegedly be excluded from joining the group.

The complaint also alleges that UVM Revolutionary Socialist Union, another student organization, also excluded Jewish members from joining. 

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UVM Hillel Executive Director Matt Vogel provided Campus Reform with the following statement:

“There is no place for hatred at the University of Vermont, and we look forward to continuing working together as a UVM community toward a campus climate that makes all students feel safe and welcome on campus.”

The statement cited UVM as “one of the top 25 public universities for Jewish student enrollment.”

The complaint also includes attacks against UVM Hillel. It highlights an alleged Sept. 24, 2021 incident in which “small rocks: were thrown at the building windows by “intoxicated students.” One perpetrator allegedly asked a bystander if they were Jewish when asked to stop throwing the rocks.

The Brandeis Center state that UVM “refused to recognize the incident as a bias incident[.]”

Campus Reform has reached out to UVM for comment, and have yet to receive a reply.