George Mason University—located in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.—has been added to a list of dozens of institutions of higher education under federal investigation for antisemitism on campus since the Hamas massacre in Israel occurred in early October. 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced on Dec. 22 that it had added the Fairfax County, Virginia-based university to its list of institutions under Title VI for “shared ancestry investigations.” 

The National Desk, a news outlet of Sinclair Inc., first reported the probe Dec. 28. 

Separately, George Mason University has built a bloated bureaucracy that has pushed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, a September study by The Heritage Foundation found. That is said to have contributed to the problem.

The research was conducted by Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow for international engagement at The Heritage Foundation, and Jay Greene, a senior research fellow in the Center for Education Policy at Heritage. The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation. 

In December, Gonzalez and Greene wrote that the DEI push encouraged some of the antisemitism on campus, and criticized GMU President Gregory Washington. 

“In other words, Washington has doubled down on the woke DEI efforts that people now understand induced students across the country to be so ethically challenged that they supported Hamas over their Jewish victims following the terrorist group’s mass killing and rapes Oct. 7 in Israel,” they wrote in a December op-ed

“Small wonder that Mason’s campus was one of the earliest and largest scenes of pro-terrorist demonstrations by such radical groups as Students for Justice in Palestine,” Gonzalez and Greene continued. “Masked pro-Hamas student protesters were allowed into a Nov. 30 meeting of the Board of Visitors, at which they accused the board members of complicity in the “genocidal murder” of Palestinians and that ended with the genocidal ‘from the river to the sea’ slogan. Washington sat there impassively.”

Neither the Education Department nor GMU immediately responded to requests for comment from The Daily Signal on Tuesday. 

After the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the university investigated an incident in which a student was seen tearing down posters on campus of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas as hostages. The university reportedly determined ripping the posters down violated the student code of conduct, but did not appear to be criminal. 

A GMU spokesperson told The National Desk that “policies, procedures, and public statements are transparent and well-documented,” adding, the university is “confident that the Department of Education’s review will confirm that George Mason University has acted well within the letter and spirit of laws and the First Amendment.”

Also in December, the Education Department announced it was investigating the University of North Carolina, the University of Illinois, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other institutions, regarding antisemitic acts on campus. 

Universities that were previously under investigation by the department include the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Columbia University and Rutgers University.

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