The American Jewish Committee (AJC) blasted the University of Vermont (UVM) for its response to multiple antisemitism complaints and an ensuring federal investigation into the allegations.

UVM said it “vigorously denies” allegations that it fostered an antisemitic environment on campus, in a lengthy response to the news this week that the US Department of Education had opened an investigation into whether Jewish students’ civil rights were violated at the university.

But days after the Department of Education announced an investigation into the claims, the AJC said it was “deeply disappointed” that the university decided to speak for its Jewish students instead of listening to their concerns in response to a letter to students and faculty written by UVM President Suresh Garimella disputing many of the allegations.

“The uninformed narrative published this week has been harmful to UVM. Equally importantly, it is harmful to our Jewish students, faculty, staff, and alumni. There is no doubt that antisemitism exists in the world and, despite our best efforts, in our community. Exploitation of fear and divisiveness by advancing false claims that UVM failed to respond to complaints of antisemitic behavior creates confusion and a sense of insecurity for the entire community,” Garimella wrote.

The AJC reached out to Garimella regarding the situation and wrote a letter in response to his statement, describing his “attempt to defend the reputation of UVM” as having “negatively impacted Jewish students who have experienced antisemitism on campus.”

The president’s statement made “Jewish students and groups feel less included, valued, and protected at UVM,” the AJC said.

“UVM has expressed the intention to take antisemitism on campus seriously, and cited two of AJC’s key initiatives as evidence of that commitment: the President’s Summit, and AJC Project Interchange. Our initiatives offer university administrators resources to engage Jewish students in open and nuanced dialogues about issues that are central to Jewish life, including their connection to Israel.”

The letter continued: “While we are committed to working with UVM administrators and Jewish students on campus to help bridge the clear gaps in understanding, we are deeply disappointed that the university chose to speak on behalf of Jewish students, rather than stage a more robust and much-needed conversation with them about the antisemitism being reported on campus. Listening to Jewish students is essential to fostering the inclusive environment that UVM strives to maintain on campus.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)