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Federal Officials Drop Investigation of Alleged Bias in Student Course Advising

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 13, 2012

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has halted its investigation of a complaint that an academic-department chairwoman at Barnard College discriminated against a student by steering her away from a course on the basis of her Jewish background. In a letter sent on Wednesday to Barnard, which is affiliated with Columbia University, Emily Frangos, the leader of the investigative team that looked into the matter for the civil-rights office, said the department chair had denied discouraging the Orthodox Jewish student from taking the class based on allegations that the professor would be biased against her. The letter said the office’s investigators were closing the file because they were unable to sort through the conflicting accounts of what was said in the meeting between the department head and the student, and heard no similar allegations of other Jewish students’ being steered away from the class.

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