IWU under investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office for Civil Rights

The complaint against IWU was not filed by a member of our community. (Photo courtesy: IWU/File)

By Blake Haas 

NORMAL – Illinois Wesleyan University is under investigation, alleging that the University failed to respond to alleged harassment of students.

According to a complaint sent to IWU President Georgia Nugent, IWU allegedly failed to respond appropriately to the harassment of students in Oct. 2023. 

The Office for Civil Rights plans to investigate whether the University failed to respond to alleged harassment of students based on Jewish ancestry. 

IWU Assistant Director of Communications Julia Perez issued a statement to WJBC Thursday afternoon:

Like many universities across the country, the Illinois Wesleyan community includes students, employees, alumni, and families who hold diverse perspectives. The hallmark of a broad-based education like we offer at Illinois Wesleyan is the ability to grapple with ideas from a variety of perspectives, striving to find our own voices while respecting the shared humanity of those with differing backgrounds and views.

As a University, we are committed to our mission of education and free expression. To prepare students for democratic citizenship, we foster tools for reasoned debate, conflict mediation, and navigating difficult conversations. This must be built upon a foundation of mutual respect. Illinois Wesleyan University is also committed to providing a community free of discrimination. Maintaining a safe campus environment remains our top priority while providing supportive services to any students, faculty, and staff during this period of violence in Israel and Palestine and the surrounding regions.

The University is aware of a complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. To clarify, the notice we received explained that OCR is investigating whether the University failed to respond to alleged harassment of students on the basis of national origin (shared Jewish ancestry) in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title VI. The complaint against IWU was not filed by a member of our community but instead by an individual with an outside organization that has filed complaints against several other institutions of higher education. We are fully complying with the OCR’s investigation of the matter.”

A copy of the complaint can be found here: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/il-illinoiswesleyanu-1-compandnotlet.pdf

There is no timetable for the completion of the investigation. 

Blake Haas can be reached at [email protected]


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