There’s a lot of back story here, which we covered. This investigation comes as no surprise.

The College Fix reports:

Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Williams College over concerns that it violated antidiscrimination law when the student government refused to recognize a pro-Israel student group.

In a May 31 letter, the Office for Civil Rights’ Boston office said it had accepted a complaint alleging the College Council violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. That prohibits “discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.”

David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, had filed the complaint May 2, alleging that the council is an “official arm” of Williams and thus covered by Title VI. (The government also accepts complaints filed by people who do not claim to be the victim of civil rights violations.)

The government letter is dated 17 days after the Williams administration voted to recognize the Williams Initiative for Israel, also known as WIFI, using a separate process that largely excludes the College Council.

It’s not clear whether the Office for Civil Rights knew about the administration’s action, or what effect that would have on the investigation. OCR’s Boston office didn’t immediately respond to College Fix queries Monday night.

In an email statement to The Fix, Williams spokesperson Greg Shook said that the college “welcomes the opportunity” to work with OCR.

“Our goal is to educate our students about governance and campus climate,” Shook said. “Partnering with OCR is a valuable way to move that effort forward.”


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