The US Department of Education has launched a formal investigation into Brooklyn College after several Jewish students said they were subjected to “severe and persistent” anti-Semitic harassment from both faculty and peers.
The complaint was filed with the DoE by the Brandeis Center, a nonprofit human rights organization, on behalf of two Jewish students enrolled in Brooklyn’s mental health counseling MA program.
Brooklyn professors have “maligned Jews” and endorsed the narrative that “Jews are ‘white’ and privileged and therefore contribute to systemic oppression of people of color,” the nonprofit said in a statement.
The initial complaint states that the college has violated Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “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.”
Jewish students at Brooklyn said they were allegedly harassed in classrooms and on social media with ethnic stereotypes and divisive comments.
In one class, a professor stated that Ashkenazi Jews in America are part of the oppressors in the country. Faculty also categorized Jewish students as “white-only” multiple times.
In another case, a student openly expressed her desire to strangle a fellow Jewish student in a group chat. Several members of the group supported her. After another Jewish student came to the victim’s defense, the attacker accused Jews of being racist, claiming they were “part of the dominant culture.”
College administration has not stepped up either. When Jewish students complained to school authorities about the harassment, fellow students claimed that they were calling out racism, implying that their Jewish peers were racist and oppressive.
“Yet, once again, in a university program for mental health professionals, Jews are told they must identify as white, are called privileged, and are accused of being oppressors,” Brandeis Center Director of Legal Initiatives, Denise Katz-Prober, said. “It utterly ignores centuries of Jewish discrimination and murder, which we are frighteningly seeing resurface.”