The U.S. Department of Education is investigating possible antisemitism at the University of Vermont.
Some Jewish students of the University of Vermont have said that they have been treated unfairly, discriminated against, targeted, and harassed because of their ethnicity. They also mentioned that the university had not taken any action to stop this nuisance, even though there are laws that protect people from this kind of treatment. The complaint was submitted by The Louis D. Brandeis Center and Jewish On Campus, both organizations supporting Jewish people.
According to a press release from the Brandeis Center, Jewish students at UVM have been afraid to identify as Jews, have hidden their Judaism, and have considered transferring out of the school because of the anti-semitic environment prevailing on campus.
On Tuesday morning, the University of Vermont released a statement announcing that they had investigated all the allegations and that the report would be shared with federal officials. The University of Vermont released an email stating, “We are looking forward to providing the agency with a full response to the underlying allegations.” They further continued that the university seeks to create an inclusive culture for everyone on campus, including members of its Jewish community, and does not tolerate any acts related to bias or discrimination because of somebody’s race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
The accusations of bad treatment on campus came after the constant conflict in the Middle East about the Gaza Strip. This was in May 2021 when Israeli and Palestinian forces had a disagreement after Israel attacked, and more than 260 Palestinians died.
Jewish students at the University of Vermont say that they have been made to feel unwelcome on the UVM campus. They further say that people have threatened them, cyber-bullied them, and thrown rocks at their dormitory windows in late September. The Jewish students say they are being treated this way because they support Israel or are proud of their Jewish heritage. The complaint alleges that the University of Vermont administration was made aware of these actions on multiple occasions but failed to take any corrective measures, thereby violating the student’s right to equal access to education. All these acts have made the Jewish community at UVM anxious and stressed, and many have hidden their Judaism or even considered transferring to another school.
In its response, the UVM authority stated, “We are committed to working with our university partners to address bias and hate incidents and condemn antisemitism, hate, & bias in any form. UVM is and will always be a safe and welcoming environment for Jewish students and all community members”.