US Education Department To Investigate UNC Middle East Event

Jun 18, 2019

File photo of the Old Well on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Credit Brian Batista / For WUNC

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating a conference on the Middle East held at the University of North Carolina after a legislator raised complaints that participants were biased against Israel.

The conference titled "Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities," was co-sponsored in March by Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

McClatchy D.C. reports that Raleigh Republican Rep. George Holding asked for an investigation in April, citing "reports of severe anti-Israeli bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric at the taxpayer-funded conference."

UNC says it used $5,000 in education department grants for the conference, and will cooperate with the inquiry.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tasked investigators with determining whether the spending complied with requirements.