Monday, May 2, 2011

Protecting yourself from Anti-Semitism in the classroom

Confronting hate is no easy task. More so even when it is in the classroom; however, I hope the following information would make it easier to confront a professor who clearly is abusing his/her power to indoctrinate, not to educate. Now, it may be intimidating to confront professor's like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky, but keep in mind that not only will your Hillel or local Jewish organization stand behind you, but the American government.

According to a document written by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), if schools do not take action to correct actions against Jewish students, these schools will be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, color or national origin. While it does not add "religion" to the group that is protected, in a letter (see here) written by then director of the OCR Kenneth Marcus in 2004 and reaffirmed as policy in 2010 under the Obama administration, discrimination against religious groups are added to this protection as stated in the letter that "groups that face discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics may not be denied protection under Title VI on the ground that they also share a common faith."

Now, what does this mean to you the students? Some of you may remember this ugly incident at UC Irvine a year ago:

Well the students known as the "Irvine 11" were arrested and were charged with "with misdemeanor conspiracy to commit a crime and misdemeanor disruption of a meeting." They have pleaded not guilty to these charges (see here). Also, UC Irvine is being investigated by the OCR for anti-Semitism (see here) for events such as this and other examples of anti-Semitism at UC Irvine (see the letter of complaint to the OCR here).

So don't be afraid. If there is anti-Semitism, or racism going on in the classroom, don't be afraid to speak up. You have the right to an education, not an indoctrination.

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