Hindu American Foundation Files Complaint Against University Of Pennsylvania Over ‘Anti-Hindu’ Conference

| Updated : October 12, 2021, 6:53 pm
Updated : October 12, 2021, 6:53 pm

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WASHINGTON: The Hindu American Foundation, an advocacy group on Wednesday filed a complaint with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against University of Pennsylvania for its role in co-sponsoring the Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH) conference

In the complaint filed to the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement Randolph Wills, HAF has demanded the Office of Civil Rights to investigate and determine whether the University of Pennsylvania and its Department of South Asia Studies, South Asia Center created a hostile environment for students and faculty of Indian and Hindu descent, and whether the same entities and individuals misused any federal funds.

HAF alleged that the University of Pennsylvania was a sponsor of a conference entitled, “Dismantling Global Hindutva,” (DGH) held online September 10-12, 2021. We have strong reason to believe that the event was initiated by at least one or more members of University of Pennsylvania faculty.”

The group noted that the conference and accompanying social media posts subjected a global audience, including Hindu students and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, to “demonizing and dehumanizing discussions about Hindus” for three entire days in contravention of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. “Event organizers boasted 30,000+ viewers on the DGH YouTube channel alone and 4.7 million impressions on Twitter. These numbers do not account for the allegedly thousands viewing the event broadcast on Zoom or live streams on other platforms,” it added.

The Foundation also sought assurances from the University that it would ensure the psychological and professional safety of Hindu students, faculty, and staff on campus who may fear or face hostility, harassment, censorship, or retaliation as a result of the DGH conference.

“The University of Pennsylvania has thus far failed to respond and address the creation of a hostile environment directed at Indian and Hindu students, faculty, and staff in spite of ample and sustained notice,” the group claimed.

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