Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Coalition of Civil Rights and Education Policy Experts Calls on Biden Administration to Combat Anti-Semitism in Education, Conduct Emergency Audit to Ensure Federal Grants Are Not Being Used to Promote Anti-Semitic Views

WASHINGTON—Today, a coalition of civil rights and education policy experts led by the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education urging the agency to combat the outpouring of anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment in education programs and activities throughout the United States. The coalition requests the administration to conduct an emergency audit of international education and foreign language studies grants made to colleges and universities under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (“HEA”) to ensure that grantees have served the program’s national security objectives and not promoted anti-Semitic or anti-American viewpoints. 

Currently found in Title VI of the HEA and administered by the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education, Congress first authorized the international education and foreign language studies grant programs in the National Defense Education Act in 1958. Underscoring the national security orientation of the grants, Congress authorized the program during the Cold War to provide for “better-educated, defense-oriented personnel” with expertise in foreign languages, foreign area studies, science, engineering, and mathematics. To that end, Title VI of the HEA funds National Resource Centers (“NRCs”) and imposes certain grant conditions on NRCs, including that they teach “any modern foreign language” and provide “instruction in fields needed to provide full understanding of areas, regions, or countries in which such language is commonly used . . . .”

A growing body of evidence shows that the Department has funded NRCs that have strayed far from the original purpose of the program. The coalition letter states, “. . . far from fostering the U.S. national security and economic interests that led to their passage 65 years ago, [NRCs and related grants] are actually undermining these interests in furtherance of critical theory (i.e., viewing every subject through the lens of the oppressor and the oppressed) that indoctrinates students . . . with a warped worldview that America and its allies, like Israel, are fundamentally irredeemable oppressors on the world stage. As one report put it, ‘The social and cultural priorities of today’s academics have rerouted Title VI funding away from serving the American national interest and toward political and ideological activism.’”

DFI President and Co-Founder Bob Eitel said, “These grants are supposed to protect American interests, not hurt them. There’s grave concern that grantees have used Title VI HEA funding for purposes that have nothing to do with the program’s defense security objectives. In light of yesterday’s House hearing where the presidents of several elite schools refused to condemn as violations of institutional codes of conduct campus speech calling for the genocide of Jews, we’re also concerned that the Department has allowed schools to use these grants for ideologically driven programs that present America and Israel as nothing more than colonizers and oppressors. The Department should take immediate steps to ensure that recipients have not used these grants to promote anti-Semitic or anti-American views and that the programs funded by these grants serve America’s national security interests.”

The coalition letter also calls on the Education Department to “pursue impartially” its current civil rights investigations into alleged anti-Semitic discrimination at several schools, colleges, and universities and to issue “long-delayed” regulations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would clarify the legal duties of educational institutions to address anti-Semitism discrimination and harassment.  

To read the coalition letter, click here.

List of signatories

Robert S. Eitel
President and Co-Founder
Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies

Michael Brickman
Former Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary
U.S. Department of Education

Max Eden
Author of Why Meadow Died

Chris Gacek
Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs
Family Research Council

Kimberly Hermann
General Counsel
Southeastern Legal Foundation

Meg Kilgannon
Senior Fellow for Education Studies
Family Research Council

Carrie Lukas
Independent Women’s Forum

Myles Mendoza
Oak Rose Group

Dan Morenoff
Executive Director
American Civil Rights Project

Nicole Neily
President and Founder
Parents Defending Education

Ryan Petty
​​​​​​​WalkUp Foundation

Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.
Director, Higher Education Reform Initiative
America First Policy Institute

Victor Riches
President and CEO
Goldwater Institute

Ilya Shapiro
Director of Constitutional Studies
Manhattan Institute

Inez Feltscher Stepman
Senior Policy Analyst
Independent Women’s Forum

Devon Westhill
President and General Counsel
Center for Equal Opportunity

Paul Zimmerman
Policy Counsel
Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies

Discovery Institute

Additional Information

DFI  has filed five civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concerning anti-Semitic harassment at Yale University, Cooper Union, Rutgers University, Drexel University, and Arizona State University.