The Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating San Diego State University (SDSU) after the school put out a statement following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.
SDSU issued a statement on Oct. 9 providing a list of resources for community members and acknowledged that the Oct. 7 attacks came during Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, a Jewish holy day.
The complaint against the school said that the statement “promoted hate and racism against Arabs and Muslims,” Cory Marshall, senior director of media relations for SDSU, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The OCR opened the investigation into SDSU on Tuesday, according to an OCR list of schools under Title VI Shared Ancestry Investigations. The DOE “does not comment further on pending investigations,” a spokesperson told the DCNF.
“What is being reported is heartbreaking. We have heard from SDSU community members who have family, close friends and colleagues in the region,” the Oct. 9 statement from President Adela de la Torre reads. “Many have spent several terrifying days praying for their safety. Some have not had those prayers answered. We cannot express to you the depths of emotion and anguish we have felt and encountered since Saturday.”
“We are grieving for all those who are suffering in the wake of this outburst of violence,” the statement continued. “We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any act of violence, especially those against innocent civilians. We are deeply struck by the sheer scale of the loss of life – of innocent Israelis, Palestinians, and countless others,”
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at SDSU released a statement on Oct. 13 condemning the president’s statement.
“Students for Justice in Palestine along with students and faculty are deeply hurt and disappointed by the statement released by San Diego State University’s President Adela del la Torre. San Diego State University has failed to acknowledge the emotions and well-being of its Palestinian and Muslim students,” the chapter’s statement reads.
The ED’s OCR opened several investigations into schools and universities following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks for alleged antisemitism and/or Islamophobia, according to a public list of schools under investigation by the ED’s OCR. Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cooper Union are among the schools under investigation by the Biden administration.
Harvard University, Columbia and UPenn created antisemitism taskforces following a rise in antisemitism on their campuses. Pro-Palestinian students across the U.S. used several symbols associated with violenceagainst Israelis in protests after the attacks.
“Since October 7, SDSU has been actively in communication with our many San Diego and campus partners given the significance of the community impact of the ongoing war. SDSU has continually affirmed that any instances of harassment, discrimination or acts of violence targeting individuals or groups based on their background within our SDSU community will not be tolerated,” Marshall told the DCNF.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include more information from the university’s Oct. 9 statement.
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