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FIGHTING BACK: NY Reps Lawler And Torres Introduce COLUMBIA Act To Appoint Antisemitism Monitors At Colleges

Amid a surge of anti-Israel protests and rising antisemitism on college campuses, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) have introduced the College Oversight and Legal Updates Mandating Bias Investigations and Accountability (COLUMBIA) Act. The legislation aims to empower the Department of Education to tackle antisemitism on campuses receiving federal funding.

“Campus antisemitism is at an all-time high, and American universities are not capable of handling it when left to their own devices,” Torres stated. “The federal government cannot allow this to continue unchecked.”

The COLUMBIA Act would allow the Department of Education to appoint a third-party monitor to oversee antisemitic activity on campuses. Schools that fail to cooperate with the monitoring could face loss of federal funding. The monitor would release quarterly public reports on progress made in addressing antisemitism and provide recommendations to lawmakers and officials.

Torres emphasized that Jewish students feel abandoned by university administrators, highlighting the need for federal intervention. The House will vote next week on the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023, another bill proposed by Lawler, which aims to address the growing prevalence of antisemitism at educational institutions. The bill seeks to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism for enforcement in fighting discrimination on campuses nationwide.

As anti-Israel protests have engulfed Columbia University, leading to dozens of arrests and canceled classes, and spread to other campuses like Emory University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas-Austin, lawmakers are taking action to address the surge in antisemitism.

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