US says two universities fell short in addressing anti-Arab, antisemitic hate

FILE PHOTO: College students protest on University of Michigan campus

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The University of Michigan and the City University of New York have fallen short in addressing recent incidents of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and antisemitic nature, the U.S. Education Department said on Monday.

The department also reached resolutions with both universities over complaints of such incidents. The schools agreed to take some steps like re-opening some past complaints, reporting their results to the government, training personnel on how to respond to claims of discrimination and conducting more surveys to assess such discriminatory experiences, the Education Department said in a statement.

These marked the first probes to be concluded among the several that were launched by the department since Oct. 7 after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel and Israel began its military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza. Some probes involved incidents from before the war began.

The Education Department said the universities did not comply with the requirement to remedy a hostile environment.

The incidents that were looked into ranged from threats reported by a Jewish student on social media to pro-Palestinian students reporting they were called "terrorists." The universities confirmed the resolution agreement and said they opposed all kinds of discrimination and harassment.

Advocacy groups say that incidents of hate and bias against Jews, Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in the United States, Israel's key ally, have gone up amid the war.

Alarming U.S. incidents include the fatal October stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American child in Illinois, the November shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Vermont and the February stabbing of a Palestinian American man in Texas.

A former Cornell University student pleaded guilty in April to posting online threats, including of death and violence, against Jewish students on campus. There have also been allegations of alarming rhetoric in some recent college campus protests.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's eight-month-old assault on the Gaza Strip, Gaza health officials say. The war has also displaced nearly the entire 2.3 million population there, caused widespread hunger and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies. Israel's assault followed Hamas' attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people with 250 others abducted, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Andrea Ricci)