What’s in the May Issue of the Brandeis Brief?
Fri, Apr 27, 2012
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LDB Cautions FAU and Rutgers
The Brandeis Brief
The Louis D. Brandeis Center continues to generate buzz two months into its formal launch. The Chronicle of Higher Education has just recognized LDB’s efforts to combat campus anti-Semitism, in an important if debatable new article discussed below. Recently, LDB issued warnings to Florida Atlantic University and Rutgers. At the same time, we have been busy on the research front, writing and publishing a number of papers and speaking out against anti-Semitism and in favor of religious freedom. This month we also expanded our Board, bringing on two important international figures. We discuss all of this in the third issue of The Brandeis Brief.
More Buzz About The Louis D. Brandeis Center
The Louis D. Brandeis Center remains very much in the news. For example, the influential Chronicle of Higher Education discussed LDB in Peter Schmidt’s recent lead cover article on Title VI. Schmidt, a highly respected journalist, argues that the Jewish community is deeply divided between those who urge vigorous civil rights enforcement and those who insist on following the First Amendment. Our position is that we need to do both— and that the Jewish community is largely united in that position. In other words, we disagree with Schmidt’s interpretation. Nevertheless, we appreciate the Chronicle’s reporting on LDB. “Kenneth L. Marcus,” Schmidt points out, “directs the new Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which is devoted to fighting anti-Semitism on campuses and, he says, monitors ‘dozens of campuses’ as potential targets of lawsuits.” It does indeed. The Chronicle also kindly remembered that “Mr. Marcus helped persuade the Education Department’s civil-rights office, which he had previously led, to take a more aggressive stance against anti-Semitism.”
LDB Warns Rutgers About Anti-Semitism
LDB announced last week that we are “seriously concerned” about Rutgers’ response to allegations of anti-Semitism. We explained that we “are carefully evaluating the situation at Rutgers, but our preliminary review discloses reason for significant concern. We are offering to work with Rutgers’ administration to resolve these problems.” Members of Rutgers’ Jewish community had approached LDB for support, based on our significant experience in combating campus anti-Semitism.
In a letter to Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick, we questioned the adequacy of Rutgers’ response to a series of pending allegations. We emphasized that this situation is particularly disappointing in light of President McCormick’s prior record of excellent work in responding to inappropriate conduct. Rutgers is the subject of a campus anti-Semitism complaint brought by the Zionist Organization of America under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigating that complaint. In addition, a Rutgers student newspaper recently ran an article praising Adolf Hitler. The student editors insist that the article was intended to be satirical. It carries the by-line of a Jewish Rutgers undergraduate student who lost family members during the Holocaust. The undergraduate has also filed a formal complaint.
LDB Criticizes Florida Atlantic Over Eviction Notices
Earlier in April, LDB publicly expressed “disappointment” with Florida Atlantic University’s response to the “Eviction Notice” incident on its campus. Specifically, LDB criticized the University for failing to address the underlying problems for Jewish and Israeli students that may be created by an incident in which anti-Israeli protesters, mocking Israeli government officials and accompanied by FAU staff, posted fake eviction notices on the doors of 200 FAU students last month. Under Title VI, university administrators must promptly and effectively address certain forms of bias, including discrimination against Jewish or Israeli American students, at federally funded educational programs and activities. LDB explained, “We think that this disturbing incident should create a teachable moment for FAU educators. Now is the time for FAU leadership to speak out, loudly and clearly, against anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on and off its campus. This is not about censorship or political debate; it is about ensuring that Jewish and Israeli students are not subjected to a hostile environment.” The Brandeis Center has urged Florida Atlantic University to conduct a full investigation, issue a strong statement condemning anti-Semitic incidents, promulgate new policy guidance, and develop educational programming to inform its students about the nature of contemporary anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.
Two Major Figures Join LDB Board
We were delighted to announce earlier in the month that LDB’s board of directors has appointed two new independent directors. The new directors are Dr. Richard Cravatts, President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and the Hon. Tevi Troy, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Deputy White House Cabinet Secretary and White House liaison to the Jewish community.
“The Brandeis Center continues its expansion with these two critical additions, who will diversify the extraordinary talent and experience which we have within the organization,” as we explained at the time. “This accelerates the Brandeis Center’s momentum as it expands its efforts to combat campus anti-Semitism and secure the civil and human rights of the Jewish people.
Richard Cravatts is Professor of Practice and Program Director of the Master’s Degree in Communication Management at Simmons College in Boston. Dr. Cravatts has published over 350 articles, op-ed pieces, columns, and chapters in books on campus anti-Semitism, campus free speech, terrorism, Constitutional law, Middle East politics, real estate, and social policy, and is the author of the newly-released Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s War Against Israel & Jews. Cravatts is President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a member of the Brandeis Center’s Academic Advisory Board.
Tevi Troy is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a writer and consultant on health care and domestic policy. On August 3, 2007, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Troy has extensive White House experience, having served in multiple high-level positions, including service as acting head of the Domestic Policy Council and White House Liaison to the Jewish Community. Dr. Troy has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an M.A and Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin.
Next month, look for us in Jerusalem. We will be speaking at the Israel Democracy Institute’s International Conference on the Role of Religion in Human Rights Discourse on May 16, 2012. We will address three conceptions of religious freedom in American constitutional law, explaining how traditional approaches do not always adequately protect the rights of religious minorities such as Jewish Americans.
As always, we are interested in hearing from college students and faculty who need our help fighting anti-Semitic harassment and hostile environments for Jewish students on campus. We also welcome inquiries from university administrators who seek technical assistance on civil rights compliance or best practices for achieving a university environment in which all faculty and students can excel in the pursuit of knowledge.
Kenneth L. Marcus
President & General Counsel
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
The Louis D. Brandeis Center is a nonprofit organization supported by individuals and foundations that share our concern about Jewish college students. Our application for 501(c)(3) status is pending before the Internal Revenue Service. Fiscal sponsorships are now in place. Please contact us at email@example.com to discuss how you can support LDB.
Can We Help You to Fight Campus Anti-Semitism?
The Louis D. Brandeis Center stands ready if we can help you to combat anti-Semitism in academia. Please contact us if you are a student or professor who needs our help. We are also available to provide technical assistance to university administrators who are interested in achieving legal compliance and best practices for eliminating campus anti-Semitism.
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