Education Department Launches Antisemitism Awareness Campaign

The Department of Education is aiming to protect Jewish students from harassment and discrimination as part of a new national campaign to combat antisemitism.
portrait of Bennett Leckrone
Bennett Leckrone
Read Full Bio


Bennett Leckrone is a news writer for BestColleges. Before joining BestColleges, Leckrone reported on state politics with the nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters as a Report for America fellow. He previously interned for The Chronicle of Higher Ed...
Published on June 1, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Darlene Earnest
Darlene Earnest
Read Full Bio

Editor & Writer

Darlene Earnest is a copy editor for BestColleges. She has had an extensive editing career at several news organizations, including The Virginian-Pilot and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She also has completed programs for editors offered by the D...
Learn more about our editorial process
Image Credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images

  • The Department of Education (ED) launched a campaign to combat antisemitism.
  • ED released a "Dear Colleague" letter reminding schools of their legal obligation to protect Jewish students from harassment and discrimination.
  • ED plans to raise awareness about antisemitism and spotlight efforts by students and schools to combat hate.
  • The campaign is part of a larger national strategy from the Biden administration to curb antisemitism.

A new Department of Education (ED) campaign aims to combat discrimination against Jewish students as part of a national strategy to curb antisemitism.

ED last week released a "Dear Colleague" letter reminding schools of their legal obligations to protect all students, including Jewish students, and to give them a discrimination-free environment based on the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"Antisemitism has no place in our society, and I am proud that the Department will continue to use all available tools to prevent and address antisemitic discrimination in our nation's schools," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release.

"No student should have to face discrimination or harassment because of their race, color, national origin, shared ancestry, such as Jewish ancestry, or ethnic characteristics."

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that antisemitism is on the rise on college campuses, with students reporting an increased number of antisemitic incidents in recent years.

Schools need to take "immediate and appropriate action to respond to harassment that creates a hostile environment" to protect Jewish students under the Civil Rights Act's Title VI, the letter reads. The department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will crack down on schools that don't follow those requirements, the letter reads.

"If a hostile environment based on shared ancestry existed, and the school knew or should have known of the hostile environment, OCR will evaluate whether the school met its obligation under Title VI to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent harassment from recurring," the letter reads.

"In other words, a school violates Title VI when it fails to take adequate steps to address discriminatory harassment, such as antisemitic harassment."

OCR will continue to collect data on allegations of harassment and bullying based on religion and will offer "technical assistance to school communities as well as community organizations regarding Title VI, including its application to Jewish students and its coverage of certain forms of antisemitic discrimination," according to the ED release.

ED plans to raise awareness about antisemitism and how to combat discrimination as part of the campaign, according to the release, and will spotlight efforts by students and schools.

ED's antisemitism awareness campaign is part of the Biden administration's larger national strategy to counter antisemitism, which launched May 25.

"While antisemitic incidents most directly and intensely affect the Jewish community, antisemitism threatens all of us," a fact sheet about that strategy reads.

"Antisemitic conspiracy theories fuel other forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias — including discrimination against other religious minorities, racism, sexism, and anti-LGBTQI+ hate. Antisemitism seeks to divide Americans from one another, erodes trust in government and nongovernmental institutions, and undermines our democracy."

That strategy includes four pillars: increased awareness, improving security for Jewish communities, cracking down on the normalization of antisemitism and discrimination, and building "cross-community solidarity" to combat hate.