Education law answers Jewish concerns


Congress passed a higher education law with provisions for reporting campus hate crimes and encouraging diverse views.

The provisions, sought by a number of Jewish groups, were included in the 400-plus page Higher Education Opportunity Act passed July 31 by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The measure now goes to President Bush for his signature.

One provision requires the Department of Education to collect information on hate crimes according to FBI criteria. Jewish groups say campus hate crimes are underreported. Campuses that fail to comply with the new standards could lose federal funding.

Other parts of the Act update Title VI, which was enacted during the Cold War to provide funding for foreign language and international studies and aimed at strengthening America’s role in the world.

The new language calls for schools receiving federal money to show that they solicit “diverse views,” referring to the perception that many Middle East studies departments are overrun with pro-Arab views.

A coalition of Jewish, pro-Israel and conservative groups lobbied for the change, charging that American universities had failed to anticipate the rise of radical Islam.

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