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Ohio State under investigation for alleged failed response to anti-semitic acts

The Ohio State University campus sign
Angie Wang
/
Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint against The Ohio State University for allegedly failing to respond to anti-semitic acts on campus.

The Office for Civil Rights opened the investigation into Ohio State on Jan. 16. On the same day, the agency opened investigations into the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Temple University, Muhlenberg College and the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California.

The Office for Civil Rights looks into discrimination involving shared ancestry and complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Lantern, Ohio State's student newspaper, reports that an Ohio State parent submitted the complaint alleging the university failed to respond to “incidents of harassment” based on “shared Jewish ancestry” in the fall 2023 semester.

In October, a university student reported being spit on in an apparent anti-semitic act.

Then, in November, two Jewish students were assaulted just off campus at 15th and High streets. One of the students had to be treated at a hospital. OSU Hillel, a Jewish student organization, reported that Israeli flags were vandalized in their lobby and that video footage caught two people shouting anti-Israel statements and threats.

Then-Acting OSU President Peter Mohler responded to the October incident with a statement condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel and said the university was focused on supporting the campus and ensuring that members of the OSU community feel safe. Mohler sent another statement to the campus community following the November incidents reiterating that “the university has no tolerance for acts of hatred or violence.”

Ohio State spokesperson Ben Johnson said on Wednesday that, “Ohio State has never – and will never – tolerate discrimination or harassment of anyone based on their religious beliefs, nationality, or identity.”

Allie Vugrincic is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She comes to Columbus from her hometown of Warren, Ohio, where she was a reporter, features writer and photographer for four years at the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator newspapers.