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  • Sydney Umstead

Beyond the Dome: Civil Rights Group to Investigate Harvard

By: Sydney Umstead, News Editor 

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department is investigating Harvard after a Muslim advocacy group on campus alleged that the institution is discriminating against its Palestinian, Muslim and Arab students.  

The advocacy group suggests that the institution did not protect these students from harassment and other threats on campus. Claims against Harvard follow the controversial handling of the conflict between Israel and Gaza. The New York Times reported, “Harvard has been in turmoil for months over its response to the attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza, which played a part in the eventual departure of the school’s president, Claudine Gay.” Furthermore, there is a separate investigation into Harvard’s practices after “complaints of antisemitism.”

Lawyer Christina A. Jump, who is representing the Muslim Legal Fund of America and who filed the claim against Harvard, stated, “Students were ‘threatened or called terrorists,’ sometimes by fellow students, for wearing keffiyehs, a Palestinian scarf.” Jump also claimed, “Others were doxxed and intimidated, yet Harvard administrators dismissed the concerns.” 

Harvard has responded to these claims with the statement that the campus stands with the work of the Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Education Department “to ensure students’ rights to access educational programs are safeguarded and will work with the office to address their questions.”

The New York Times notes how students who were involved in a group that declared Israel entirely at fault for the conflict had their images plastered on a truck with a digital billboard that read “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.”

Gray then attended a congressional hearing on antisemitism, where “Criticism of her responses in that December hearing, charges that she was not doing enough to crack down on antisemitism, and later accusations of plagiarism, would lead to her toppling.” 

Harvard is not the only school to face these kinds of allegations. According to The Times, “A flurry of such complaints have been filed in recent months, often over allegations of failing to protect Jewish students.” Moreover, “more than five dozen investigations have been opened since October, mostly at colleges but also at schools and school districts.”

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