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Oberlin College Under Federal Investigation For Campus Culture Of Antisemitism

Oberlin College Under Federal Investigation For Campus Culture Of Antisemitism

Thanks to a Trump-era executive order, Oberlin could lose millions of dollars in federal funding.

After years of fighting antisemitism at her alma mater, Oberlin College graduate Melissa Landa has finally had a breakthrough. In September, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced it is investigating the charges she filed against the school back in 2019.

Thanks to a Trump-era executive order, the OCR probe could cost the school millions of dollars in federal funding.

Legal Insurrection readers have had a break from nonstop news about Oberlin, whose six-year court case with Gibson’s Bakery was doggedly covered here until it ended last December. But this high-stakes legal battle puts the school back in the spotlight.

And it comes amid a nationwide surge in campus antisemitism emboldened by the October 7 Hamas massacre: From thousands of miles away, the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust unleashed the worst outbreak of antisemitic attacks on college campuses that anyone can remember.

Most of the the campus “pro-Palestine” rallies hold themselves out as political protests against Israel. But they inevitably show their true colors—they’re really attacks on Jews:

And like Hamas’s attacks on Israelis, the attacks on American Jewish students didn’t come out of nowhere.

DEI Killed the Meritocracy That Facilitated Jewish Success

They came out of the “moral and intellectual rot” wrought by DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in higher education as Victor Davis Hanson points out here:

DEI is the lifeblood of woke campus ideology. Its purpose is to make everyone feel good about themselves—and exactly equal—at all times. So it can’t co-exist with a system that recognizes success on the merits, because students who fall short—especially if they’re academically mismatched DEI admittees—will feel “oppressed” by that system.

To protect the “oppressed,” DEI requires that you “dismantle” the systemically racist meritocracy built by the white “oppressor.” For years, schools have whittled away longstanding objective criteria for admitting students. When the end of affirmative action loomed this past year, many universities had already undermined merits-based admissions by eliminating mandatory SAT testing. Professional schools, we wrote here, were toying with eliminating the LSATs and the MCATs.  That makes the schools more “inclusive.”

Except for Jews. Meritocracy’s basic principles of fundamental fairness enabled them to succeed even when all the cards were stacked against them. And now it’s dead.

DEI is simply reaching its logical conclusion. The same way it legitimized hating the white “oppressor” for succeeding on the merits, it legitimizes this insane hatred of the Jews who, against all odds and after all this time, keep succeeding.

With antisemitism on the rise and meritocracy on the fall, it’s no wonder that Jewish student enrollment is down at the woke Ivies. It’s almost as if that were the DEI endgame all along.

Landa Exposes Years of Antisemitism at Oberlin

And it comes as no surprise that a left-leaning woke liberal arts school like Oberlin is an antisemitic hotbed. Landa has been documenting Jew-hatred there since 2014:


Her OCR complaint covers years of antisemitism since then at Oberlin, including when

● A Hillel meeting was overtaken by anti-Israel activists;
● A huge display accusing Israel of “murdering” 2,133 Palestinians during Operation Protective
Edge was placed outside of Rosh HaShana services;
● A student’s dorm room in which an Israeli flag was hung was vandalized; and
● A faculty member’s home was vandalized, and left with a note saying “GAS JEWS DIE.”

Oberlin is also home to Professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, the “Professor of Peace” who has called for the destruction of Israel; we wrote about him here.

Landa told Legal Insurrection that the focus of her complaint is anti-Israel activity at the school:

For many years, Jewish students at Oberlin have been targeted, ostracized, and harassed for their Zionism. They have faced hostility from student groups like Students for a Free Palestine and have heard Israel delegitimized and mischaracterized as an apartheid state by professors such as Mohammad Jafar Mahallati and the former Dean of Students, Meredith Raimondo. I, along with other alumni, have expressed our concerns to President Ambar, who has dismissed us, directing us to the campus rabbis to discuss our issues. We chose to discuss them with the Office of Civil Rights instead.

But antisemitism in the guise of anti-Zionism can be hard to prove. Legitimate free speech concerns and a political divide over Israel both provide cover for it. No matter how clear it is that Jew-hatred motivates them, critics say that attacks on Israel are protected speech, and anyone who disagrees is anti-Palestinian.

Another problem is that it’s hard to show how antisemitism fits into the categories of discrimination forbidden by federal law. As we wrote here, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal funding, and is the go-to provision used to enforce anti-discrimination rules in education; but it doesn’t specifically prohibit religious discrimination.

With all this in mind, back in 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13899, entitled “Combating Anti-Semitism,” to make sure that “discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism” would be prosecuted “as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”

And if there’s any question whether anti-Zionism or anti-Israel activity counts as antisemitism under Title VI, the order expressly requires the OCR to consider International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.  Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

As we wrote here, the IHRA “gold standard” reflects how antisemitism has shifted its focus from Europe to the Middle East. Today it finds expression in campaigns to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (BDS);  accusations of apartheid against Israel; and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

EO 13899 explicitly tells the OCR to consider IHRA’s “‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism … to the extent that any examples might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.” These include

  • “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”; or
  • “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

Biden White House officials reportedly confirmed over the summer that the EO is still in effect.

And on November 7th,  the DOE re-affirmed in a press release that Title VI protection will extend to campus antisemitism in the wake of the “Israel-Hamas conflict”:

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued efforts to take aggressive action to address the alarming rise in reports of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other hate-based or bias-based incidents at schools and on college campuses since the October 7th Israel-Hamas conflict, today the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new Dear Colleague Letter reminding schools of their legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) to provide all students, including students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian, a school environment free from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

“I think that students need to file Title VI complaints so that universities can have federal money withheld from them, and maybe that will make them act,” Landa recently told NBC news. “I hope that my Title VI complaint will serve as an example for them.”

According to the DOE this past week, it already has.


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I was in Oberlin until ’63 and was surrounded by Jews, thinking up and down the nearby dorm mates. All tending towards the successful end. I can think of a couple who are famous.

I’d guess affirmative action, whenever that started, is responsible. You have to get rid of the smart people. Before affirmative action, of course, the blacks there were as smart as anybody else. Very competitive entrance bar.

Anybody here feel sorry for Twillie?

I’m curious . In guilty of too many sins to count and if you start cooking we’ll be here for ever. But the Jew hatred thing never made sense

    ConradCA in reply to Arminius. | November 13, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Tyrants need oppressors the their supporters can blame for bad things in their lives. They focus their supporters. anger on the “oppressors”. Obama the Liar used George Zimmerman for this purpose during his reelection campaign. It worked for him as 90% of blacks turn out for the election.

My Lord condescended to take on human form to forgive sins. Reject that as bullshit such is the nature of faith He loved us first. All we have to do is love Him back it’s a free gift

I see the Muslims desecrate Shani Louk’,s body. She who was also created in God’s image. I am driven to ungodly fury.

    ConradCA in reply to Arminius. | November 13, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Remember how the reporter was raped by hundreds of Egyptian men when she was covering the revolution on the streets of Cairo? She can’t have children because of what those evil Muslims did to her.

Personally, Oberlin is to put it mildly, discussing. I am looking forward to seeing their arrogant asses waxed again.

    henrybowman in reply to JohnSmith100. | November 13, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Later, we may look back at this announcement as marking the day that Oberlin officially achieved the goal of becoming Chris Chan of the academic community.

Conservative Beaner | November 12, 2023 at 7:15 pm

Oberlin College back in the news and in a bad way again. Can’t say I’m surprised.

Especially being in the military I have seen some folks that were truly “ate up with the dumbass”, but I am not sure I have seen any as “ate up” as the psycho’s at Oberlin. I mean these are some truly High Calibur dumb asses. I mean how many walls do these folks have to run into face first to understand.

Now that being said I expect the current tyran……I mean administration will shut this down fourth with, but at least nothing on the internet truly disappears.

Is it just me or is there a certain irony to oBerlin College being investigated for Nazi culture?

The Left’s use of coded language to disguise their unprotected speech as protected speech has a long history. The National Socialists didn’t speak of gasing the Jews, they simply spoke of a Final Solution to the Jewish Problem. There’s nothing objectionable in those terms. It could have meant a re-education campaign for mainstream German culture to embrace a persecuted minority, but it didn’t. Likewise from the River to the Sea, something something Palestine free, could be a cry for the restoration of Greater Israel given Jews are the original Palestinians and Palestine means Israel/Judea in the ancient texts e.g. Herodotus. But as any informed read knows, it’s really coded language calling for the extermination of the Jews and for any survivors to be driven into the sea, for Muslim Arabs to rule everything from Egypt to Iran, and Saudi Arabia to Turkey – no Turkey and Iran are not Arab, but they are Muslim.

As regards Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not protecting Jews, why not? Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal and thus discrimination against members of the Jewish race is illegal. Remember not all those who are racially Jewish are Jewish by religion, and likewise not all religious Jews are members of the Jewish religion – there are Gentile converts. Or does the current legal interpretation limit race to Black, White, Yellow etc thus permitting ‘White on White anti-Semitism’?

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to George_Kaplan. | November 13, 2023 at 2:57 am

    What it means to be a Jew is deeply confusing to many non-Jews, and even to many Jews. It is not, as popularly thought in the west, a matter of religion. This is a post-enlightenment misconception that is based on a Christian concept of religion.

    According to Jewish belief, Jews are a nation & membership in the nation passes thru the maternal line. The Jewish religion is a component of that nationhood. Someone who is born into the nation may or may not practice or even believe in the religion. Converts, in essence, become naturalized members of the nation, which requires accepting and adhering to the religion. The maternal descendants of those converts are as Jewish as anyone whose family has been Jewish for thousands of years.

    There are no good analogies I can think of from the non-Jewish world. Perhaps the closest is becoming an American citizen. Not every American understands the constitution or subscribes to its ideals. But to become an American citizen one must learn about the constitution and commit to uphold it.

      Being raised in the Old South in the 50s and 60s with its mostly British Isles based heterogeneous culture, I was mystified with the hatred of Jews I saw in those who were raised in other areas. In fact, my Christian heritage held up the Jews as God’s chosen race. God’s message to Abraham that those who bless his descendants would be blessed and those who curse them would be cursed was taught at an early age.

      While I was in the USAF, I had a public conversation with a guy from a large Northern city that went like this:
      Him: I hate Jews.
      Me: Why?
      Him: Because they’re Jews.
      Me: That’s no answer. What’s wrong with Jews?
      Him: They’re Jews.
      Me: You’re not answering the question. Because … why?
      Him: You don’t understand, you redneck hick.
      Me: You don’t either. If you did, you could tell us why you hate Jews. You have a problem. Work on it.

      He walked away tight jawed. You could have heard a pin drop.

        WTPuck in reply to DSHornet. | November 13, 2023 at 11:46 am

        It always amazed me that some who profess to be Christian are anti-semitic. After all, Jews and Christians share a common ancestry.

“Here at Oberlin we are proud we teach our students to mimic the insane.”

If affects the Prof.’s as shown here, why not at other universities? And why not the Jewish Students?
Together they can file a joint claim…that should bring pressure to bear when it comes with Federal $’s or in this case NO more Federal $’s.

Notice how the vermin are wearing masks. Did COVID return?

I have long said, before COVID, that wearing a mask in public should be illegal (excepting Hallowing and masquerade parties) and this includes the tradition Niqab that Muslim women wear in public as it violates the basic social contract that we can see who each other are.

It is a form of intimidation. You can see my face but I cannot see yours. Can I walk down the street carrying a noose? No. Use the same intimidation laws to prosecute people in masks.

Robert Spencer, the fellow over at Jihad Watch, has a twenty page document which lists all the events in which Muslim men evade capture by wearing a Niqab. It is extensive and disturbing.


    ahad haamoratsim in reply to not_a_lawyer. | November 13, 2023 at 2:59 am

    In some states, it already is as part of the anti-KKK legislation. It was unlawful in Wisconsin in the 1960s and 1970s & may still be.

    CincyJan in reply to not_a_lawyer. | November 13, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    The students are masked because they are aware there could be repercussions. That’s a hint that society does not approve of what they’re doing, and they know it. Way to go, Oberlin.

Just think about this. Everything…and I mean EVERYTHING bad that has and will happen to this institution could so very easily have been avoided had they held those black shop lifters accountable for their actions.

They are against Jewish culture, as I see it. It is a culture of family and helping those within your group. Those who are in cultures where this doesn’t happen are envious and jealous. It is no different than my subsection of WASPs. My dad was always good at breaking things down into two groups of people. For example, he’d say “there are people whose life is made better by more money, and those whose lives are made worse (say, a junkie).” In this case we have a culture who supports its members by building, vs a different culture who is centered on taking and destroying. If the gaza residents spent half the effort on building their community as they do building tunnels, they’d all be better off. Sadly, they have a culture (and more importantly leaders) who will make this impossible. They are ignorant foot soldiers. Until their culture changes, nothing will ever get better for them, no matter how much they steal from the cultures who are based on building. Menken summed it all up a long time ago.