US slams U-of-M, CUNY for protest response

WASHINGTON (AP) — The University of Michigan and the City University of New York did not adequately investigate complaints about antisemitic or anti-Palestinian harassment linked to campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war and other incidents, according to the results of investigations by the U.S. Education Department announced Monday.

These are the first investigations to reach a conclusion among dozens launched by the Education Department since Oct. 7, the day Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel.

The department’s Office of Civil Rights investigated 75 instances of alleged discrimination and harassment at the University of Michigan based on shared Jewish ancestry and shared Palestinian or Muslim ancestry. The investigation found that the university’s responses did not meet its Title VI requirements to remedy the hostile environment.

In one instance, when a Jewish student reported being called out for viewing a graduate student instructor’s social media post about pro-Palestinian topics, the university told the student that “formal conflict resolution is not a path forward at this time,” because the incident occurred on social media.

In another instance, when a student who participated in a pro-Palestinian protest was called a “terrorist,” the university said it held “restorative circles” to address the incident but did not take further action.

In its resolution agreement, the University of Michigan agreed to administer a climate assessment, implement additional training and revise its policies as necessary. It also agreed to monitoring by the Office of Civil Rights through the end of the 2026 school year, reporting its responses to future incidents of discrimination to the department.

“The university condemns all forms of discrimination, racism and bias in the strongest possible terms,” University of Michigan President Santa J. Ono said in a statement. “We continually work to educate our community around the rights and privileges of free speech to ensure that debate does not tip over into targeted harassment or bullying. This agreement reflects the university’s commitment to ensuring it has the tools needed to determine whether an individual’s acts or speech creates a hostile environment, and taking the affirmative measures necessary to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for all.”

The department also announced the resolution of nine pending complaints against schools in the City University of New York system, dating back to the 2019-20 academic year.

Those incidents include harassment and disparate treatment of students based on shared Jewish, Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or South Asian ancestry.

The university system agreed to reopen or initiate investigations into discrimination complaints and provide the Office of Civil Rights with the results and report any remedial action the university would take.


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