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Stanford, UCLA among growing list of colleges facing federal discrimination probe

By Samantha Delouya, CNN

(CNN) — Stanford University; the University of California, Los Angeles; and Rutgers University have been added to a growing list of schools that face federal discrimination investigations by the US Department of Education, according to a DOE site.

In the past week, the department opened investigations into six additional schools for alleged incidents of discrimination against students on campus for their race, color or national origin.

The probes were launched under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which says universities and K-12 schools are responsible for providing all students with an environment free from discrimination.

At the conclusion of the investigations, the department will make recommendations to the schools, which risk losing federal funding if they don’t comply.

The Education Department has launched an unprecedented number of Title VI investigations into college campuses since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and the ensuing heightened tensions in the US ­– including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University – after receiving complaints about alleged incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

CNN reached out to the six new schools the department listed: Rutgers University, the University of California — San Diego, the University of Washington — Seattle, Whitman College, Stanford University, and the University of California — Los Angeles.

The Department of Education did not comment on the newly opened investigations. Last month, the department told CNN that the situation is becoming untenable for its Office of Civil Rights and that it doesn’t have the investigative staff to match the influx of cases.

Representatives for both Whitman College and Rutgers confirmed that the schools were being investigated for alleged incidents of harassment against students of Jewish or Israeli ancestry. Representatives for both schools said they stand against antisemitism.

A spokesperson for Whitman College said, “We do not yet know the specifics of the allegations,” but added that the school is “committed to our ongoing work to combat antisemitism and bias of any kind.”

In an emailed statement, Rutgers said: “We have received notice that an investigation of a complaint has been opened related to alleged incidents of harassment in October and November 2023 of students on the basis of their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israel). The notice provides no further details, but we will certainly fully cooperate. Rutgers stands against antisemitism and against hate in all its pernicious forms.”

Representatives for Stanford, UCSD, UCLA, and the University of Washington all said the schools take allegations of discrimination seriously. However, none confirmed the cause of the probes.

The expanding list of Title VI probes comes as university leaders face growing pressure to address reports of rising hate on college campuses.

Last week, the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania faced intense blowback from donors and politicians following their testimony at a House hearing on antisemitism on campus.

UPenn president Liz Magill resigned from her position just four days after the hearing. Harvard president Claudine Gay has also faced calls for her firing, though on Tuesday, Harvard’s governing board announced that it supported Gay.

– CNN’s Katie Lobosco, Taylor Romine and Matt Egan contributed to reporting.

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