STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford University has been added to a growing list of universities being investigated for discrimination by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The department cites rising antisemitism and Islamophobia at schools since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
The ED says schools must ensure students are free from discrimination, including discrimination based on ancestry. Some students say they don’t feel like the university is living up to that standard.
"I think that Stanford has not done anywhere close to enough, particularly to protect its Muslim, Arab and pro-Palestinian students," said Draper Dayton, a Stanford student.
The department opened a civil rights investigation last week at Stanford University. In the last few months, there has been a rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents on campus.
"Meanwhile, we had a hit-and-run that was targeting an Arab student and right after he was hit the driver yelled f**k you and your people," said Dayton.
Dayton says he’s Jewish and supports the Palestinian cause. He thinks Stanford has failed to remain neutral or publicly support pro-Palestinian students on campus.
"They have made several statements in support of the Jewish community, in support of Israel and condemning Hamas. They have not made similarly strong statements in support of the other communities on campus," said Dayton.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act says schools should be free of discrimination and harassment. If Stanford is found in violation of that law, it could lose federal funding or be referred to the Department of Justice for further action.
"I would like the university to stop certain DEI initiatives that are harming Jewish students, especially, because it is very clear that we are being discriminated against by these initiatives," said Kevin Feigelis, a Jewish PhD student at Stanford.
A brief statement from the university says it’s committed to providing a discrimination-free campus for students of all backgrounds, national origins and religions.
"Of course, there should be no Islamophobia in schools, but the fact of the matter is, antisemitism is orders of magnitude more prevalent," said Feigelis.
Stanford also says that it intends to work with the ED while it investigates this civil rights complaint.