Wellesley College under federal investigation for alleged antisemitism

WELLESLEY, Mass — A national investigation is being launched into antisemitism and Islamophobia incidents across several college campuses including Massachusetts’ Wellesley College.

“Hate has no place in our schools, period. When students are targeted because they are—or are perceived to be—Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, or any other ethnicity or shared ancestry, schools must act to ensure safe and inclusive educational environments where everyone is free to learn,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement Thursday. “These investigations underscore how seriously the Biden-Harris Administration, including the U.S. Department of Education, takes our responsibility to protect students from hatred and discrimination.”

A complaint from two Jewish organizations was filed against Wellesley College last week following an email from resident advisors that read “that there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community, according to the Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law.

Although the RA sent a follow-up email expressing regret, she also posted on social media that the apology email was sent “with a gun to my head.”

According to the Brandeis Center, Wellesley President Paula A. Johnson advised the college community that the residential staff had learned from their mistake but did address the exact nature of the email. A faculty-hosted panel also descended into controversy, Brandeis says.

“We at the Department of Education, like the nation, see the fear students and school communities experience as hate proliferates in schools,” said Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “As we continue our active enforcement, the Office for Civil Rights is increasing transparency into our investigations for public awareness. As always, I emphasize that the Office for Civil Rights reaches conclusions at the end of investigations and that a school’s appearance on this list does not reflect a conclusion that the law has been violated.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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