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University Of Oregon Accused Of Not Reporting Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes

Updated November 1

A student and an employee of the University of Oregon have accused the school of illegally failing to include anti-Semitic incidents in its annually published list of campus crimes.

Their latest report listed only one hate crime in 2018 – an assault based on the victim’s sexual orientation.

A university spokesperson told the Register-Guard newspaper that the incidents in question didn’t fall into the reportable categories.

The complaint alleges at least 30 hateful vandalism incidents that they claim were not included in the report. In one case in July 2018, the welcome sign at the University of Oregon Hillel was defaced with the writing “Free Palestine you f***s.” It was not included in the university’s 2018 Clery Report on hate crimes. Vandalism motivated by religious bias must be included in the reports but non-biased vandalism does not. Off-campus incidents must be included if they occurred at “any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the institution.”

But at the time of the incident, a university official seemed to be clear that they considered it anti-Semitic. “Anti-Semitism and other forms of hate have no place at the University of Oregon,” vice president of student life Kevin Marbury said in a message to students.

Oregon Hillel Foundation executive director Andy Gitelson backed the university’s assertion that the incident, while troubling, did not have to be included in its Clery Act report, because Hillel is not officially recognized by the university in the way that a fraternity or sorority is. “I will also say that the University of Oregon has been truly supportive of victims of anti-Semitism,” he told the Forward.

The complaint also included documentation of 30 incidents of white nationalist propaganda posted on campus facilities without approval.

Universities are required by the Clery Act of 1990 to publish an annual report counting the number of certain offenses like robbery, sexual assault, liquor and drug law violations, domestic violence, and hate crimes. The complaint, filed with the Department of Education, claimed that anti-Semitic incidents were not included or misclassified.

Department of Education investigations into alleged Clery Act violations can sometimes take years, the Register-Guard reported. A university can be fined $35,000 per violation.

This story was updated with a response from University of Oregon Hillel.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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