(JNS) The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Williams College for possibly violating anti-discriminatory law over the student government rejecting a new pro-Israel group, Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI), in an anonymous vote in April.
The Office for Civil Rights’ Boston office announced in a May 31 letter it’s looking into a complaint filed earlier in the month by George Mason University law professor David Bernstein, accusing the College Council of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits “discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.”
“Williams College is an institution of higher education that received federal funds, and is subject to Title VI,” wrote Bernstein in the complaint.
In May, the college administration overrode the student government’s rejection of WIFI.
WIFI, per its constitution, seeks “to support Israel and the pro-Israel campus community, as well as to educate the College on issues concerning Israel and the Middle East.”
The student government decision was condemned by Williams College president Maud Mandel, who said that the “transcript of the debate and vote indicate that the decision was made on political grounds.”