URBANA, Ill. — Allegations of anti-Semitism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education, university officials said Monday.
Spokesman Robin Kaler said the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights notified the university of the investigation on Friday. Allegations filed with the department describe increased anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism at the university over the past five years.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, located in Washington, filed the complaint in October along with Chicago-based Jewish United Fund and Hillel International.
The Chicago Tribune reports the allegations are based on the experiences of two students at the university. They point to the defacement of religious ornaments, depictions of swastikas drawn on campus property and tense interactions between Jewish students and a student group advocating for liberation and self-determination of the Palestinian people.
The university released a joint statement Monday with the organizations that filed the complaint condemning anti-Semitism.
“We deplore anti-Semitic incidents on campus, including those that demonize or delegitimize Jewish and pro-Israel students or compare them to Nazis,” said the statement. “This subjects them to double standards that are not applied to others. All Jewish students, including those who identify with Israel or Jewish campus organizations, should be able to participate in campus activities aimed at fighting racism and achieving social justice.”
The university said that before the spring 2021 semester, it will create an advisory council on Jewish and campus life made up of students, faculty and alumni to work with the chancellor and other officials on the issue of anti-Semitism.
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