Department of Education opens investigation into alleged harassment of Jewish students at Temple

Temple joins a list of school districts and universities being investigated by the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights for alleged violation of Title VI since the beginning of the latest Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

The Department of Education is investigating allegations that Temple has failed to protect Jewish students from harassment. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation Tuesday into the alleged harassment of Jewish students at Temple. 

The complaint alleges that the university has failed to protect Jewish students from discrimination, citing two protests involving Temple Students for Justice in Palestine last semester, according to Campus Reform, whose Editor in Chief, Zachary Marschall, filed the complaint. 

Protesters chanted “Intifada revolution” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which some interpret as the expulsion or “genocide” of Jewish people living in Israel, according to Campus Reform.

Campus Reform is a project of the Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization that trains and helps conservative Americans find work in the government and media. The site describes itself as “a conservative watchdog to the nation’s higher education system, [which] exposes liberal bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.”

The complaint also alleges that during a December protest, Temple students were involved in harassing Michael Solomonov, an Israeli restaurant owner in Philadelphia, by chanting “Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” outside the restaurant, according to Campus Reform.

The Office for Civil Rights did not comment on the pending investigations but confirmed in an email to The Temple News that the investigation into Temple has been opened.

“We are aware of the Department of Education complaint and intend on fully complying, providing the department with robust information on how we are supporting our community through these challenging times,” the university wrote in a statement to The Temple News. “As this situation evolves, the university will continue to adapt, ensuring that all members of this community have access to the support and resources that they need.”

The department will be investigating whether Temple has failed to respond to the alleged harassment based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to an image of the complaint provided by Campus Reform. The act protects individuals from discrimination based on national origin in federally funded programs or activities.

Marschall, complainant and the Editor in Chief at Campus Reform, has submitted 20 other Title VI complaints against higher education institutions, Marschall wrote in a statement to The Temple News.

“I am writing to [the Department of Education] as a journalist who has spoken to numerous Jewish students across this country too afraid to speak up,” Marschall wrote in the complaint. “I’m choosing to speak up for them because the University takes no action to protect them.”

The University of Pennsylvania has been under investigation by the department for a month, before the resignation of former President Liz Magill and a Pennsylvania House committee investigation into the university’s tax-exempt status.

Many school districts and universities nationwide, including Temple and Drexel University, have been added to the Department of Education’s list of open Title VI investigations that involve discrimination based on shared ancestry since Oct. 7, with at least 15 confirmed to be related to the Israel-Hamas war.

“Temple University unequivocally condemns hate and discrimination against any person and will always strive to ensure that all of our students, faculty, and staff feel welcomed and safe in our community and throughout our campus,” the university wrote.

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