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Betsy DeVos. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Education Department told Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to restructure their joint Middle East studies program, claiming there was not enough “positive imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region," the New York Times reports.

The state of play: In a letter assistant Secretary for postsecondary education Robert King wrote that the Duke-UNC program "appears to lack balance," alleging that it failed to abide by the standards of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which grants college funding for international studies and foreign language programs.

The big picture: The Education Department's probe was, per the Times, part of a sweeping investigation. Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the department has grown more forceful in tackling perceived anti-Israel bias.

  • Kenneth Marcus, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education, has, per the Times, "waged a yearslong campaign to delegitimize and defund Middle East studies programs that he has criticized as rife with anti-Israel bias."

What's next: The universities have been asked to submit a modified list of events it intends to support and a full list of course offerings in its Middle East studies program.

  • The department also requested the consortium to show it has “effective institutional controls” to comply with the administration’s interpretation of the Higher Education Act. The consortium has a Sept. 22 deadline before the department is expected to approve funding Sept. 30.

Go deeper: Report: The political left and the right feed "the new wave of anti-Semitism"

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have arrived at the Capitol. Members of congressional leadership and VIPs will soon be introduced. Watch a livestream here.

What's next: Biden and Harris will take their oaths of office. Shortly after, President Biden will deliver his inaugural address. What to expect.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Momentum builds for major antitrust reform

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's outgoing antitrust chief Makan Delrahim on Tuesday endorsed a proposal from House Democrats that would put new limits on acquisitions by large companies, during comments made at a Duke University event.

Why it matters: Momentum is building for major antitrust reform, updating rules that were written for railroads instead of routers.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

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