The fresh allegations stem from Harvard's apparent inaction in response to anti-Israel demonstrators who seemingly advocated for violence against Jews in Israel. This incident occurred a day after the Department of Education announced its investigation into the university.
In a letter penned to Kristi R. Harris, the chief attorney for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Boston, the Harvard graduate expressed gratitude for initiating the investigation but urged for its expansion.
The graduate wrote, "Harvard Hillel has reported that on November 29—a day after OCR notified me (and, presumably, Harvard) that it had opened a Title VI investigation—Harvard College students ‘had classes disrupted by a coordinated protest using bullhorns to blast abhorrent antisemitic calls to "globalize the intifada," and demands for the elimination of the Jewish state "from the river to the sea,"'" quoting an Instagram post by Harvard Hillel.
The graduate further emphasized that these calls are explicit threats to the lives of Jews and Israelis.
The letter elaborated, "During the Second Intifada, for example, Palestinian terrorists murdered over 1,000 Jews and Israelis, including through suicide-bomb attacks on buses and restaurants." The graduate also pointed out that the House of Representatives acknowledged in a bipartisan resolution that the phrase 'from the river to the sea' is widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence aimed at the destruction of Israel and its people.
The graduate expressed concern over Harvard's lack of action in response to these threats, stating, "To date, there has been no indication that Harvard has taken any action in response to these threats against Jews and Israelis." The graduate further criticized Harvard's laissez-faire attitude towards such threats, arguing that the university would not have been so indifferent if similar threats were made against any other minority group on campus.
In October, Harvard University President Claudine Gay acknowledged the persistent presence of antisemitism at Harvard and admitted that the university has done too little to confront it.
The graduate appreciated President Gay's admission of Harvard's violation of Title VI but criticized the lack of action following her words. The graduate urged the Department of Education to intervene, stating, "It is now time for the Department of Education to intervene."
President Gay is set to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce at a hearing titled, "Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism."
In the fiscal year 2023, Harvard reported receiving $676 million in federal funding. The graduate argued that the Department has a responsibility to ensure that these public dollars do not finance private prejudice.
The graduate's initial complaint alleged that Harvard discriminated against students based on national origin by failing to respond appropriately to harassment against Jewish and Israeli students. This included an incident where a first-year Israeli student at Harvard Business School was reportedly physically assaulted and verbally abused by pro-Palestinian protesters during a "die in" demonstration on campus in response to Israel's retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip.
In a letter sent on Tuesday, Harris informed the graduate that OCR was opening an investigation into whether Harvard "failed to respond to alleged harassment of students based on their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israeli) in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title VI."
The graduate concluded the letter by expressing deep appreciation for the Department's commitment to advancing and enforcing the nation's civil-rights laws.