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Reps. Lawler, Torres Introduce Legislation Empowering Federal Department of Education to Impose a Third-Party Antisemitism Monitor On Colleges and Universities Receiving Federal Funding

Today, Congressman Mike Lawler (R-NY-17) joined Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) in introducing legislation in response to the ongoing demonstrations at Columbia University that have created an environment that many Jewish students view as hostile to their well-being and safety. 

This legislation, the College Oversight and Legal Updates Mandating Bias Investigations and Accountability (COLUMBIA) Act, would empower the federal Department of Education to impose a third-party antisemitism monitor on any college or university receiving federal funding. The monitor would be appointed by the Secretary of Education, the terms and conditions of the monitorship would be set by the Secretary, and the expenses of the monitorship would be paid by the particular college or university that has been selected for monitorship. Failure to comply with the monitorship would result in the loss of federal funds. The monitor would release a publicly available online quarterly report, evaluating in detail the progress that a college or university has made toward combating antisemitism on campus and issuing policy recommendations to Congress, the Secretary, and state and local regulators as needed.

"Rising antisemitism on our college campuses is a major concern and we must act to ensure the safety of students," said Congressman Lawler. "I’m proud to work with my friend and colleague Ritchie Torres on legislation that will impose a third-party antisemitism monitor on college campuses to ensure protections are in place and oversee any troubling action by college administrators. If colleges will not step up to protect their students, Congress must act."

"As we have seen over the last half a year since October 7, campus antisemitism is at an all-time high, and American universities are not capable of handling it when left to their own devices. My office and I have spoken with countless Jewish students from campuses across America who feel deeply unsafe, purely as a result of their religious and ethnic identity. This is a blatant violation of Title VI and the federal government cannot allow this to continue unchecked," said Congressman Torres. "This past week’s crisis at Columbia is not an isolated incident -- it is the straw that has broken the camel’s back -- and I am prepared to do something about it. That’s why I am introducing the COLUMBIA Act today, and I urge all of my colleagues in the House, from both parties, to join me in this crucial action. Jewish students have told my office that they feel completely abandoned by their university administrators and they view Congress as the only avenue for accountability and safety. Let’s honor our word to them and get this done."

New York's 17th Congressional District is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.