ADL Statement to US Commission on Civil Rights: Anti-Semitic Incidents on College Campuses
Gaps in Hate Crime Reporting on Campus
Posted: November 18, 2005
Beyond the campus and community education and training efforts that can help address this problem, we urge the Commission to advocate for more effective government monitoring of anti-Semitism and other hate crimes by eliminating discrepancies in federal campus hate crime data collection efforts, which currently provide limited, confusing, and even contradictory data. Currently, both the Department of Education and the FBI collect information from law enforcement agencies on campus hate violence. However, the Department of Education's hate crime categories do not conform to the crime categories that have been collected by the FBI since 1991 under the Hate Crime Statistics Act [28 U.S.C. 534].
Every year, thousands of students are the victims of bias-motivated slurs, vandalism, threats, and physical assaults on college campuses. In 1998, to increase awareness of hate violence on college campuses, Congress enacted an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) requiring all colleges and universities to collect and report hate crime statistics to the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) of the Department of Education. Currently, colleges must report only those crimes involving bodily injury in which the victim was targeted because of his/her race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability.
Unfortunately, the Department of Education's current hate crime statistics reflect very substantial underreporting. Even worse, the limited available data directly conflicts with campus hate crime information collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the HCSA. According to an FBI report released last week, in 2004, the Bureau documented 7,649 hate crimes, reported by almost 12,711 law enforcement agencies across the country.
As the Commission examines anti-Semitism on campus in the context of the broader problem of hate violence on campuses and universities, we urge you to support efforts to revise the Department of Education hate crime categories to make them uniform with those collected by the Department of Justice.