Federal complaints filed against Pomona College alleging antisemitism

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators with the encampment at Pomona College bring materials to the Marston Quadrangle commencement area on Tuesday. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

On Thursday, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and the Anti-Defamation League announced they had filed complaints with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against PomonaCollege and Occidental College for “permitting severe discrimination and harassment of Jewish students in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” according to a news release from the complainants. Arnold & Porter law firm joined the Brandeis Center and ADL in the filing against Pomona College.

According to the complaint, since October 7 “Jewish and Israeli students on both campuses have been verbally harassed and physically surrounded, followed, threatened, and intimidated by protestors. They have been shouted at, told to ‘go back to the gas chambers,’ and called ‘kike,’ ‘f**king Jew,’ ‘f**king Zionist,’ and ‘murderer,’” The complaint alleges the victims have been “obstructed from moving freely about campus and cannot carry out their jobs or partake in educational opportunities as a result of the bullying, and some have even been physically assaulted.”

Pomona College’s Senior Director of Communications Patricia Vest, emailed the following statement Thursday evening: “Pomona College is committed to confronting antisemitism in a sustained and comprehensive manner. We will continue to enforce our policies, promote safety and actively challenge this destructive form of hate.”

Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, in educational institutions that receive federal funding.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation into a complaint filed by the Brandeis Center and ADL about “severe and pervasive” antisemitism at kindergarten through grade 12 public schools at California’s Berkeley Unified School District.

This story was updated at 3 p.m. May 10. 


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