US Education Dept. to investigate antisemitism at USC

"USC has failed its Jewish students by its lack of action," Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) head Roytman Dratwa said.

 Prospective students take a tour of the University of Southern California.  (photo credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Prospective students take a tour of the University of Southern California.
(photo credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The US Department of Education announced on Tuesday that it will investigate the University of Southern California after a Jewish student claimed that she resigned from its student government because she endured “harassment over her pro-Israel views,” The Associated Press reported.

According to a complaint made by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Rose Ritch, a Jewish student at USC, was the victim of a concentrated campaign of antisemitic harassment and that other students sought to exclude her from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) on account of her Jewish identity.

The Brandeis Center wrote that despite being made aware of the antisemitic abuse, “USC administrators did not speak out to condemn or call for the abatement of the antisemitic harassment and discrimination directed at Ritch on social media. The university’s failure to publicly condemn the antisemitic harassment or vindicate Rose by acknowledging that she had done nothing wrong and had been wrongly targeted on the basis of her identity, made it impossible for Rose to serve as student body president.”

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) has welcomed the decision by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate allegations that the USC did not adequately address the claims of antisemitism against a Jewish student.

USC Bovard Auditorium (credit: Wikimedia Commons)USC Bovard Auditorium (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

USC 'failed its Jewish students'

“We welcome the decision, but are ultimately saddened that the federal authorities have to intervene when the university authorities had ample time and opportunity to investigate the harassment of a Jewish student because of her identity,” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa.

“The feeling of insecurity and a lack of protection that Jewish students feel across American universities has to come to an end. Jews are constantly and consistently under attack, and it is being constantly ignored by those who should be protecting them.”

“USC has failed its Jewish students by its lack of action and in defense of Ritch, who was clearly victimized as a Jew,” Dratwa said.

This is not about one individual, but a trend targeting Jews and keeping them away from student office and the public space,” he added. “The reign of immunity and impunity for antisemites on university campuses must end, and we hope that this step by the Department of Education will be the first to do this.”