Fetterman, Cassidy unveil bipartisan bill to protect students from antisemitism, hold colleges ‘accountable’

Fetterman, Cassidy unveil bipartisan bill to protect students from antisemitism, hold colleges ‘accountable’

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FIRST ON FOX: Senators Bill Cassidy, R-La., and John Fetterman, D-Pa., are introducing a bipartisan bill Thursday aimed at protecting students on college campuses from antisemitism and other discriminatory acts.

The Protecting Students on Campus Act of 2024 seeks to “empower students” to file civil rights complaints if they experience discrimination on college campuses, according to a press release exclusively shared with Fox News Digital.

“No student should be harassed or attacked at school just because of who they are,” Cassidy said in a statement. “This legislation holds colleges and universities accountable and ensures discrimination against students is never ignored.” 

Senators Bill Cassidy, a Republican, and John Fetterman, a Democrat, are introducing a bill Thursday called the ‘Protecting Students on Campus Act of 2024.’ (Anna Moneymaker/Mark Makela)


Fetterman, who has been an outspoken supporter of Israel amid its war with Hamas, said, “No student should face hostility or violence for who they are, what they look like, where they’re from, or what they believe.”

“Diversity is our strength as a country,” Fetterman said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Amid a despicable rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in our country, I am proud to introduce this bill with my colleague Senator Cassidy to empower students facing discrimination to take action and hold universities accountable in protecting students.”

The bill would require colleges to post information and links on their websites and in high-traffic public areas, like student centers, detailing how to file a Title VI discrimination complaint with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Pro-Palestinian protests

Palestinian protests and demonstration have popped up across college campuses  (Getty Images)

It would also require the OCR’s assistant secretary to give monthly briefings to Congress explaining the number of complaints the office had received, how they were addressed and how long the complaints had been pending with the OCR. 

Additionally, each college receiving federal funds would have to submit an annual report to the Education Department’s inspector general detailing the number of complaints it had received regarding discrimination, an analysis of the number of such complaints, and the action the institution took to address them.

“The Inspector General of the Department of Education shall complete an annual audit of the institutions of higher education that are in the top 5 percent of institutions based on the per capita number of complaints,” the bill states.

Cassidy told Fox News Digital that he held a bipartisan roundtable discussion with college students and faculty members in November, during which it became apparent that students were unclear on whether they could file a complaint with the OCR.

Bill Cassidy

Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Bill Cassidy questions U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 16, 2023, in Washington, DC.  (Getty Images)


“Right now, universities have fallen down in terms of their responsibility to make sure that every child can have access to the kind of education that he or she signed up for,” he said.

“We need some transparency,” he added.  “Frankly, I think it’s in the natural interest of the university to downplay it, but it can’t be downplayed. The kids have to know their rights, and the public has to know what universities are doing a good job and what are not.”

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