Last Tuesday, Jonathan Karten, a 23-year-old former Staff Seargent in the Israeli Airforce and fourth-year Financial Economics and Psychology undergraduate student at Columbia University, filed the first complaint under Title VI, the executive order intended to combat anti-Semitism on campus, with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). On December 18, the Lawfare Project, an organization of legal professionals that defend Jewish people’s civil and human rights, filed a complaint with the OCR on Karten’s behalf asking the OCR to investigate Columbia.
Trump’s executive order broadened the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel as a form of discrimination that is proscribed on college campuses under Title VI Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the order, the Department of Education could withhold funding from schools that it finds in violation of Title VI.
“We drafted and filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which is, to my knowledge, the first action of its kind since Trump’s executive order,” attorney Brooke Goldstein, who is representing Karten, told Fox News.
She said Karten, 23, “has been ridiculed and embarrassed because of his religion and his national identity” on campus by members of the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — and even professors. Goldstein said Karten was called “a Zionist pig” and other names by members of SJP.
Lori Tucker, legal coordinator for the Lawfare Project’s Campus Civil Rights Project, said in a statement that Columbia University was in egregious violation.
“In all my years of experience as an education attorney, I have not come across an environment this hostile for such a prolonged period of time without effective administrative intervention,” Tucker, said in a statement, referring to Columbia.