OCR Will Now Enforce Title VI in Protecting Jewish Students Against Harassment

The Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism congratulates the Zionist Organization of America  and Kenneth L. Marcus, the Director of the Anti-Semitism Initiative at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research and a visiting professor at CUNY’s Baruch Collegefor their unyielding efforts in obtaining this landmark decision to enforce Title VI and to compel universities to protect Jewish students from harassment.

New guidelines add protection for Jewish students

October 26, 2010

(JTA) — New federal anti-bullying guidelines for U.S. educators will increase the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a letter Tuesday that in effect applies Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campuses. Title VI prohibits discrimination based on “race, color or national origin” but does not include religion.

Under the Department of Education guidelines, the Civil Rights Act can be invoked if anti-Jewish behavior is considered to be based on shared ethnic characteristics.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) introduced legislation last month that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, whose Title VI prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, or national origin” to also include religion. The Zionist Organization of America also has led efforts to bring about legislative changes to Title VI, including lobbying members of Congress.

In a statement following the release of the guidelines, Sherman said that “The policy is now clear: 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. The schools will now be compelled to respond.”

The Department of Education also announced that it would use Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect students with disabilities from harassment on campus.

One Response

  1. We have seen the enemy and it is the senior management of UC Berkeley. UC Berkeley’s recent elimination of popular sports programs highlighted endemic problems in the university’s management. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.

    From time to time, a whistleblower would bring some glaring problem to light, but the chancellor’s response was to dig in and defend rather than listen and act. Since UC has been exempted from most whistleblower lawsuits, there are ultimately no negative consequences for maintaining inefficiencies.

    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, students, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, and financial donators and await the transformation.

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