January 12, 2020
A complaint by Hillels of Georgia that Georgia Tech University tolerated an anti-Semitic atmosphere remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.
The case file was opened March 4 and the investigation was listed as being “for possible discrimination based on race,” according to the Department of Education database.
The race designation stemmed from an executive order issued Dec. 11, 2019, by President Donald Trump, expanding enforcement of Title VI – which specifies discrimination based on “race, color, or national origin” – to include anti-Semitism.
Lawyers representing Hillels of Georgia contended in a Dec. 27, 2019, letter to the Department of Education that Georgia Institute of Technology “has willfully ignored” anti-Semitic activity and requested that DoE conduct a civil rights investigation.
In their letter to Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus, attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice said, “We write to respectfully urge you to investigate and determine whether Georgia Tech has engaged in discrimination, in permitting a hostile environment, and other violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
The complaint centered on an April 1, 2019, incident in which Lauren Blazofsky, director of Hillel at Georgia Tech, was barred from entering an on-campus room where the Young Democratic Socialists of America were holding a “Teach-in: Palestine 101” as part of Israel Apartheid Week.
ACLJ alleged that “Georgia Tech allowed blatant anti-Semitic exclusion and harassment at a campus group event, attempted to conceal the offense, repeatedly and systemically stonewalled Jewish student and faculty efforts to address the incident; ignored two out of the three complaints arising from said event; and after a student conduct board finally found the campus group guilty on the one complaint they did hear, violated their own policies and issued a decision on appeal reversing that guilty ruling – allowing the anti-Semitism to continue unchecked.”
There are 500-plus Jewish students at Georgia Tech, a small fraction of the campus population. Most are undergraduates.