The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint that alleges the University of Vermont failed to adequately respond to harassment and discrimination against Jewish students, according to a press release from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Jewish on Campus, a student group focused on exposing antisemitism.
The complaint, filed by the organizations last year, says a student support group for survivors of sexual assault and a book club called “UVM Revolutionary Socialist Union” posted on social media that Zionists were excluded from participating. The complaint also accuses a teaching assistant of posting on social media about cyberbullying Zionists and wanting to lower Zionist students’ grades.
“For many Jews, including many Jewish students at UVM, expressing support for the Jewish homeland is a sincere and deeply felt expression of the Jewish people’s shared ancestral, religious, and ethnic identification with the Land of Israel,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also alleges that a group of students threw small rocks at the Hillel, a Jewish student life center, on a Friday evening last September. When asked to stop by a student in the building, one of the perpetrators reportedly asked, “Are you Jewish?”
A spokesperson for the university, Enrique Corredera, said in a statement to The Washington Post that university leaders are aware of the investigation and look forward to responding to the allegations, which were reported to the university in 2021 and investigated by campus officials.
“UVM seeks to foster a culture of inclusiveness for all students, faculty, and staff, including members of our Jewish community, and does not tolerate acts of bias or discrimination related to religion, race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation on our campus,” the statement read.