ADL: Rutgers University Response To Anti-Semitism Has Been Insufficient

New York, NY, December 6, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today again urged Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick to act promptly to "seriously investigate" allegations of anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation of Jewish students on campus and, if verified, to "take appropriate disciplinary actions."  The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into the allegations.  

"Despite concerns of anti-Semitism that have been raised by ADL and others over the past year, university officials have been insufficiently attentive to these issues," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The involvement of the Education Department underlines the seriousness of these allegations – and University officials should definitely get the message that greater attention and urgency needs to be devoted to the issue." 

Since May 2011, ADL has been corresponding with Rutgers President McCormick concerning anti-Semitic remarks attributed to a staff member.  In December 2010, this individual posted a comment on Facebook in response to a column written by a student in the student newspaper. In her Facebook posting, the staff member referred to the student as a "Zionist pig" and encouraged others to post comments on Facebook and write letters to the student newspaper. ADL referenced concerns about this incident at Rutgers in testimony (PDF) before the Helsinki Commission on December 2. 

"We believe that it is simply unacceptable for a University employee to publicly use such hurtful, derogatory, and poisonous language when referring to a student," said Foxman. "It should not take a federal case to be initiated before Rutgers will seriously investigate this incident and take appropriate disciplinary actions."                  

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the recipients of federal funding must ensure that their programs are free from racial and ethnic discrimination.  In March 2010, ADL helped coordinate a letter with 12 other Jewish organizations urging the Education Department to clarify that anti-Semitic harassment on campus can also be prohibited by federal civil rights law. In October 2010, the Education Department issued guidance on bullying and harassment in schools in which it stated that it will now protect students from anti-Semitic harassment. The League strongly welcomed that new guidance. 

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