Orthodox Union Calls for U.S. Secretary of Education to “Educate” Anew University Leaders About Their Legal Obligations

Posted on December 7, 2023 In Press Releases

Dec. 7, 2023

Yesterday, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (“Orthodox Union”), the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States, called upon Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to provide explicit guidance to universities that calls for “Genocide of Jews” on their campuses are violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The letter came following the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing, where the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn refused to say that calls for the genocide of Jewish people negated university policy, instead claiming it depended on the context.

The presidents claimed that incitement to violence is only problematic when coupled with actions and when directed at specific individuals. The Department of Education has already publicly stated in a written memo to schools that; “harassing conduct can be verbal or physical and need not be directed at a particular individual. Schools must take immediate and effective action to respond to harassment that creates a hostile environment.”

The Orthodox Union letter notes that this general statement of principles was apparently insufficient and needs to be followed with detailed application of those principles to the rallies that are happening daily on campuses.

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, said:

This week, the nation saw leaders of three supposedly esteemed and influential institutions totally fail when asked a simple question of right and wrong. While they have rightly received criticism from many segments of society, we are asking Secretary of Education Cardona to exert his leadership at this critical moment. Notwithstanding the ongoing investigations of specific institutions and the general guidance the Department of Education has issued in the past, it appears university presidents need to be told very specifically what they are legally, not to mention morally, obligated to do.

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union said:

The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center will continue to work with allies in Congress – including Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, Rep. Elise Stefanik, and others, as well as Biden Administration officials to fiercely combat antisemitism on America’s campuses and streets. We will not relent until our community is able to exercise our freedom of religion together with freedom from fear.

Click here to access the full letter sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.