That the other papers in town are not covering it is a mystery. But it certainly strikes us as newsworthy when the United States Commission on Civil Rights votes - as our Meghan Clyne reports it did yesterday - to ask Congress to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect Jews against anti-Semitism on campus. We not particularly in favor of the Congress jumping in on the issue, but given the way things have been going on campus, it's not exactly surprising. There is litigation under way on the Coast over campus anti-Semitic incidents that have been ignored at the political level. Harvard is trying to figure out what to do about a dean at its John F. Kennedy School who has co-authored a paper that a professor at Harvard Law School calls bigoted. And Columbia is moving toward granting tenure to one of the professors in the middle of its own Middle East studies scandal. So if the Congress Acts maybe they'll call it Bollinger's Law.
We don't mean to suggest that Mr. Bollinger himself is in any way bigoted. He is not. But what is going to tempt the authorities in Washington in respect of anti-Semitism on campus is what has animated the authorities in the face of any other bigotry - silence. We now have a Columbia where Colonel Gadhafi is invited to speak and whose regime helps underwrite the parley. All sorts of campuses are seeing a divestment movement aimed at Israel in a way the President of Harvard sees as anti-Semitic in effect if not intent. We have the leaders of Yale going almost totally silent while a controversy swirls around their decision to bring in as a special student the former spokesman for the Taliban regime in Afganistan. It may be that none of these situations, in and of itself, calls for federal action. But at some point Washington is going to start to worry, which is what the vote in the Civil Rights Commission signals.