Senator Collins Questions Secretary of Education on Rise of Anti-Semitism on College Campuses


Opening Remarks: Click HERE to watch and HERE to download.


Q&A with Secretary Cardona: Click HERE to watch and HERE to download.


Washington, D.C. – At a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, questioned Secretary of the Department of Education Miguel Cardona on the rise of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses throughout the country.


During her opening remarks, Senator Collins said:


As has been pointed out, under the civil rights law the Department has the authority to act on the complaints, and there are more than 100 investigations that have been filed since October 7 of last year.  Every day we hear from Jewish students who tell me that they're frightened on campus.  I just cannot believe the rise of anti-Semitism on our college campuses.  That is not to say that people don't have the right to peacefully protest; they do.  But that is not what is happening in far too many areas.


During Q&A with Secretary Cardona, Senator Collins said:


The Anti-Defamation League has said that in the country as a whole, that anti-Semitic incidents are up 360% since October 7th.  So, it isn't just our college campuses, it's a problem nationwide and a very disturbing one.  But you do have the authority to investigate these incidences.  And I am curious what specific communications you've had with institutions of higher education regarding anti-Semitism, regarding Jewish students not feeling safe, not feeling like they can attend classes?  And when did you post any communications on this issue?


Secretary Cardona:


We’re in agreement, Senator, it's unacceptableI've spoken to Jewish students who have shared with me that they've had to take a different route to class, or that their parents don't feel safe sending them to school.  And while, you know, safe and peaceful protests are protected by the First Amendment right, not when they're unsafe, violent, or they're attacking students on campus.


Look, I have a student in college myself, a child.  I wouldn't want to send my child to a campus if I feel that they're not safe. That's the most important thing to me, to make sure that our kids are safe on campus.  If you look on ed.gov, there's a "supporting campus safety."  I repeat it because I want people to look at it. We have over 100 resources and tools that, many of them were put up after October 7, but as you mentioned, this was an issue before October 7.  There was a rise in anti-Semitism before and I've met with Jewish leaders at the Department of Education…


And as recently as this week or late last week, we've put updated information to address the issues that college campuses are facing.  It's of utmost importance.  I agree with you. We need to do better for our students on campus to make sure that they're safe.


Senator Collins:


And again, there's a big difference between peaceful, legitimate protests, and what we're talking about – harassment, intimidation – that cannot be allowed.  Thank you.