ADL and Brandeis Center File Title VI Complaint Against UMass-Amherst, Alleging Pervasive Antisemitic Climate for Jewish Students

ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law announced that they submitted a formal complaint against the University of Massachusetts Amherst with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging that the university has failed to address the severe discrimination and harassment of Jewish and Israeli students, which fostered a hostile antisemitic environment.

The complaint alleges that since the events on Oct. 7, Jewish students at UMass-Amherst have faced a litany of antisemitic incidents, including a violent assault. The complaint seeks remedies under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Additional specific examples of antisemitic incidents cited in the complaint include genocidal chants, antisemitic slurs, and physical threats. There were statements from UMass-Amherst student groups praising Hamas’s terrorism as justified “resistance,” and disruptive pro-Hamas protests that prevented people from physically entering or exiting buildings, working, or studying.

There was also online harassment of Jewish students in a group chat, which included derogatory, vile, and antisemitic language. This rhetoric was so egregious that a perpetrator’s account was banned from a UMass public school page.

The complaint urges OCR to compel the university’s administration to implement a series of measures necessary to secure the safety of Jewish students at UMass, including issuing a public statement condemning antisemitic hostility and the BDS movement, urging the university to incorporate the IHRA working definition of antisemitism into its campus policies to better recognize the types of antisemitic discrimination confronting Jewish students, and providing mandatory antisemitism training to university administrators, faculty, students and staff.

In addition to ADL and the Brandeis Center, Jason Torchinsky and Erielle Davidson from Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak PLLC and Douglas Brooks from Libby Hoopes Brooks & Mulvey, P.C. are serving as the plaintiff’s counsel in this case.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all. More at

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law is an independent, unaffiliated, nonprofit corporation established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. LDB engages in research, education, and legal advocacy to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses, in the workplace, and elsewhere. It empowers students by training them to understand their legal rights and educates administrators and employers on best practices to combat racism and anti-Semitism. More at