Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label hr 6090. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hr 6090. Show all posts

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Antisemitism Definition for Title VI Education Discrimination Passes House

Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Notably absent from that list is religion. So, are jews protected from antisemitism in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary (colleges & universities) schools?

In 2021, former President Trump signed Executive Order 13899 on Combating Anti-semitism, which explains that "[i]n enforcing Title VI, and identifying evidence of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, all executive departments and agencies (agencies) charged with enforcing Title VI shall consider the following: (i) the non-legally binding working definition of anti Semitism adopted on May 26, 2016, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which states, 'Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.  Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.'” 

An explanation of the impact of that Executive Order on education was then set forth in a Q&A by the Department of Education, here

Now, the US House of Representatives have passed a codified version of this EO and further defined antisemitism in the face of rising discrimination faced by jewish students in colleges and universities throughout the country. We await the Senate and then the President to see if this Bill, HR 6090, will become the law of the land. 

If this bill is passed, it expressly provides that the definition of antisemitism under Title VI "means the definition of antisemitism adopted on May 26, 2016, by the IHRA, of which the United States is a member, which definition has been adopted by the Department of State." In fact, the bill states that antisemitism can constitute a hostile educational environment, under Title VI, as follows: "individuals who face discrimination based on actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics do not lose protection under such title for also being members of a group that share a common religion."

While HR 6090 should become the law, the real question is why Congress didn't just expand Title VI to include religion as a protected class to be free from discrimination? Fortunately, states like New York have done just that in Executive Law 296(4). So, if you are a victim of religious discrimination in education in New York, you have rights.