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New act has tougher hate crime standards

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President Bush enacted a higher education act that includes stricter standards for collecting campus hate crime data.

The new act, signed into law on Thursday, applies FBI standards for universities collecting hate crime data. Failure to apply the new standards could affect federal funding for colleges. Jewish groups had lobbied for the change; earlier standards included fewer definitions of hate crimes.

“The enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which includes an important new campus hate crime data collection mandate, is an important step forward,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement. “ADL stands ready to assist colleges and universities in providing education and training for campus law enforcement officials on a range of hate crime and extremism issues.”

The act also includes new provisions for universities seeking federal funding for international studies that include standards for “diversity,” a salve to some Jewish and conservative groups that charge that Middle East departments are dominated by anti-Israel Arabists.

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