WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Education Secretary Miguel Cardona underscored the legal obligation for schools to combat discrimination, particularly against Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian individuals. The Department of Education, having received an increased number of complaints since the recent Hamas terror attacks, reminds educational institutions of their duty to ensure a discrimination-free environment under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Cardona, seeking additional funding from Congress to expedite investigations into antisemitic or Islamophobic incidents, emphasizes support and guidance as the initial approach. However, he asserts that federal funds may be withheld if universities fail to address egregious acts, stressing the importance of investigating and ensuring compliance.

A guidance message is set to be sent to colleges, universities, and K-12 schools on Tuesday, outlining their legal responsibilities. The Office for Civil Rights has updated its discrimination complaint form to explicitly include protection against discrimination for students perceived to be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, or based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

The Education Department has initiated investigations into alleged antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents at various institutions, including Cornell University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Lafayette College, Wellesley College, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and the Maize Unified School District in Kansas. Complaints involve allegations of antisemitic and anti-Muslim harassment, with potential consequences for violating Title VI.

The Biden administration has been seeking to address the nationwide rise in antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents since the October 7 Israel-Hamas conflict.