December 10, 2023

The Education Department has responded to a spike in antisemitism on college campuses by holding a virtual hourlong briefing with Jewish organizational leaders. This meeting came two weeks after an in-person meeting with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The department has been reviewing reminders they sent to federally funded colleges about their obligation to address complaints of antisemitism, and they will be meeting in Washington with college and K-12 school leaders this week to discuss the issue.

The White House has released a statement summarizing the actions it has taken to address the spike in antisemitism, including steps to protect students, engage school and university leaders, and foster safe and supportive learning environments. However, some Jewish officials feel that the department is not being proactive enough and should take further specific steps to address the issue.

The process of addressing complaints of antisemitism is being approached deliberately, with every complaint being assessed and investigated, and every accused institution and individual receiving due process. The Education Department has the option to remove federal funding from schools that fail to address antisemitism, although they are being urged to use these penalties judiciously. The department’s media office did not reply to a request for comment.

Overall, the Education Department’s efforts to be transparent about addressing antisemitism have been appreciated by Jewish organizational leaders, but there are concerns about the pace of progress and the need for the department to be more proactive.