Washington, DC -- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reported to Congressman Brad Sherman about the progress that the Department of Education is making on the issue of whether Title VI of the Civil Rights Act protects Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campus.
"I'm extremely encouraged as a result of my conversation with Secretary Duncan," reported Sherman. "I'm more than cautiously optimistic that the Department of Education will return to the policy it had adopted in 2004. Under that policy the U.S. Department of Education required all schools receiving federal aid to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic attacks."
"Unfortunately in 2007, the Department of Education reversed its policy," Sherman continued. "It concluded that Title VI which protects students from bigotry occasioned by "race, color, national origin" didn't apply to Jews. Since then there have been numerous reports of anti-Semitic attacks and intimidation on campuses including Yale University, the University of California at Irvine, the University of North Dakota, and San Francisco State University, to name a few."
In April 2008, Congressman Sherman began intense efforts to convince the Department of Education to return to its 2004 policy and protect Jewish students on college campuses, including a letter of April 30, 2008 signed by 5 members of Congress. Sherman's efforts have included numerous telephone calls, meetings, letters and an occasional veiled threat, or at least language that could have been so interpreted. Sherman's efforts have been supported by the Zionist Organization of America and Hillel, as well as the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Anti-Defamation League and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter.
Morton A. Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, praised this potentially historic breakthrough from the Department of Education, due in significant part to Congressman Sherman's efforts: "The ZOA is proud to have spent many years working side by side with Congressman Sherman to finally ensure that Jewish students are afforded the same protection from harassment, intimidation and discrimination that other ethnic and racial groups have enjoyed since 1964 under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Colleges and universities will no longer be permitted to turn a blind eye when Jewish students face severe and persistent anti-Semitic hostility on their campuses. They will now be compelled to respond."