The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into Emory University for anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim harassment. This comes after the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) and Palestine Legal filed a complaint on behalf of Emory Students for Justice in Palestine (ESJP) on April 5, demanding that the Department of Education investigate the “hostile” environment at Emory.

CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Azka Mahmood wrote in an email to The Emory Wheel that she hopes the investigation will answer why Emory’s “failures” to “address anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian activity” since October 2023. Last week, CAIR-Georgia held a press conference at Emory demanding the University disclose and divest its ties to Israel.

Mahmood added that Arab, Muslim and Palestinian students have faced harassment and discrimination on campus. 

“It is unconscionable that students have been made to suffer an unsafe and unwelcome learning environment without recourse despite asking the University for help multiple times,” Mahmood wrote. 

Pro-Palestinian protestors demand a “Free Palestine” during an on-campus rally in April. (Spencer Friedland/ Managing Editor)

Ibrahim, a member of ESJP who requested to omit his last name due to safety concerns, said that he is “glad” the Office for Civil Rights is looking into the complaint.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to get to this point,” Ibrahim said. “It’s really, really, honestly, sad that we could not seek protection in our own university and our own administration, that we’ve had to turn to the Office of Civil Rights to instead investigate this lack of protection.”

ESJP has been working with CAIR-Georgia since Oct. 9, 2023, when Ibrahim said members of the club were first doxxed. CAIR-Georgia collaborated with other civil rights organizations to send University President Gregory Fenves a letter on Jan. 24, demanding that Emory protect Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students from harassment and doxxing on campus and reaffirm their right to advocate for Gaza. The groups also claimed that Emory violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by being “biased” against these students and ignoring their reports of mistreatment.

Ibrahim explained that ESJP filed bias reports with the University in the past but has received “essentially no communication” about the progress made on the complaints. 

“There’s been nothing to address the hostile educational climate that’s occurred on campus,” Ibrahim said. 

+ posts

Spencer Friedland (26C) is from Long Island, New York and is the Emory Wheel's Managing News Editor. He is a Philosophy, Politics and Law major and has a secondary major in Film. Spencer is also a part of the Franklin Fellows program at Emory.