Torres, Lawler push for federal antisemitism monitors on college campuses

Apr 26, 2024 | Read Now, Trending

As encampments of anti-Israel protesters spring up on a growing number of campuses across the country bringing with them instances of antisemitism, Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) are threatening to condition federal funding for universities as part of a push for more stringent federal oversight and monitoring of campus antisemitism, Jewish Insider has learned.

The lawmakers plan to introduce the College Oversight and Legal Updates Mandating Bias Investigations and Accountability (COLUMBIA) Act, which would allow the Department of Education to impose a third-party monitor for antisemitic activity on any campus receiving federal funding. Schools that do not adequately cooperate with monitoring could potentially lose their federal funding.

Compliance with such monitoring would, under the proposed legislation, be a condition of receiving continued federal funds; the monitor would release quarterly public reports on the progress that schools have made in addressing antisemitism and providing recommendations to federal, state and local lawmakers and officials.

“As we have seen over the last half a year since October 7, campus antisemitism is at an all-time high, and American universities are not capable of handling it when left to their own devices,” Torres said in a statement, alleging that there are “blatant violation[s]” of Jewish students’ civil rights occurring at colleges across the country “and the federal government cannot allow this to continue unchecked.”

[The Jewish Insider Report continues]

“Rising antisemitism on our college campuses is a major concern and we must act to ensure the safety of students,” Lawler said in a statement. “I’m proud to work with my friend and colleague Ritchie Torres on legislation that will impose a third-party antisemitism monitor on college campuses to ensure protections are in place and oversee any troubling action by college administrators. If colleges will not step up to protect their students, Congress must act.”

Similar independent monitor systems have been previously utilized by the federal government, most prominently in response to cases of police misconduct.

View this Jewish Insider Report from April 26th