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Palestinian group says Education Department has opened probe into discrimination at Columbia

The Department of Education is investigating anti-Palestinian discrimination at Columbia University amid the recent protests there, according to Palestine Legal.  

“Today @EDcivilrights announced @Columbia is under federal investigation for anti-Palestinian racism, including by inviting NYPD officers in riot gear to arrest Palestinian and associated students protesting Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” Palestine Legal said Thursday in a post on the social platform X.

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has to review all complaints given to it, but Palestine Legal said “it only opens a formal investigation when it determines the facts warrant a deeper look.” 

The probe comes a week after Palestine Legal filed the complaint alleging Columbia was discriminating against Palestinian students and those protesting for Gaza, making an unsafe environment for them.  

The complaint decried the use of police officers to break up the protests and the alleged threat of bringing in the National Guard from school administrators, which the school says did not happen.  

The announcement also comes two days after Columbia called the New York Police Department (NYPD) to take back Hamilton Hall and clear the encampment after protesters seized the academic building. Around 300 individuals were arrested in the process.  

“The law is clear, if universities do not cease their racist crackdowns against Palestinians and their supporters — they will be at risk of losing federal funding,” said Radhika Sainath, senior staff attorney for Palestine Legal.  

When reached for comment, the Education Department told The Hill it “does not comment further on pending investigations” and pointed to a list of open Title VI probes, which will not update until next Tuesday.

The Hill has reached out to Columbia for comment.  

Source: The Hill

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