The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday June 6th

Agreement between UNC and education department resolves complaint of anti-Semitism

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and UNC reached an agreement following a complaint about anti-Semitism after last semester's "Conflict over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities” conference. 

The details of the agreement, which resolves the complaint filed in April, were released Monday afternoon in a campus-wide email. 

As part of the agreement, UNC will take the following actions regarding its "Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct": 

  • Issue a statement to "reiterate its commitment to having an environment free from prohibited harassment, including but not limited to anti-Semitic harassment."
  • Include a statement in the discrimination policy saying that harassment on the basis of perceived ancestry or ethnicity may constitute discrimination. The policy may include a clear definition of anti-Semitism and must include a description of how anti-Semitism can manifest itself at the University. 
  • Ensure that all actions taken in response to the complaint "are consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." 

The University also will host at least one meeting during each of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years for students, faculty and staff to discuss concerns about harassment. The agreement said UNC will "take appropriate steps" to address any specific incidents of harassment. 

According to the agreement, each training and orientation session for students, faculty and staff about the discrimination policy will also include a component about harassment. 

"The University will request the vendor that provides the University's on-line training module to modify the training module to include a section on anti-Semitic harassment," the agreement said. 

The OCR's review was in response to complaints about anti-Semitism, including a performance at the Gaza conference and anti-Semitic posters in Davis Library. The review said the University took steps to respond to reported incidents, including a campus-wide email condemning the incidents from interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. 

The agreement was dated Oct. 14 and was signed by Nathan Knuffman for Jonathan Pruitt, UNC's vice chancellor for finance and operations.

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