(CNN) — The Biden administration is ramping up its direct response to the college protests over the Israel-Hamas war, with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sending a letter Friday to college and university presidents condemning “abhorrent” incidents of antisemitism on campus and highlighting available resources.

Cardona’s letter, sent via email, comes one day after President Joe Biden addressed the issue for the first time on camera Thursday, offering law-and-order-centric remarks at the White House that stressed the need to peacefully protest without causing chaos. The president had been criticized for not addressing the nation sooner, leaving his administration’s positioning on the issue to come through written statements and spokespeople.

Cardona’s letter marks a more robust tone from the administration and an increasingly public-facing messaging efforts on the protests.

“As the 2023-24 school year comes to a close, I remain incredibly concerned by the reports of antisemitic hate directed at students on some campuses,” Cardona said in the letter, first obtained by CNN.

In recent days, he wrote, there has been a “sharp rise in reports of antisemitism targeting Jewish students on some college campuses.”

He cited reports from Jewish students of being physically assaulted or harassed while walking on campus, antisemitic statements, including that Jewish students should “go back to Poland,” verbal abuse, and swastikas found on dorm room doors.

Protest demands vary from campus to campus, but a major focus is that universities divest from companies with financial ties to Israel amid its war with Hamas.

Cardona told the higher education leaders that his department is “eager to provide further resources, training, technical assistance,” linking to a list of strategies and other federal campus safety resources, including guides from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice.

Since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, the Department of Education has opened 141 investigations into Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Cardona said the reports are taken “very seriously” and will be investigated “aggressively.”

The letter also comes as the education secretary is expected to meet with a group of Jewish leaders on Friday, his first such meeting since October 30. One source familiar with the meeting told CNN the Jewish leaders plan to press Cardona to commit to stripping federal funding from colleges and universities that allow unlawful encampments and harassment of Jewish students. The investigations can take months to complete.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have spread across the nation’s colleges and universities, with images of tension and some violence. More than 2,000 people have been arrested on college and university campuses since April 18.

Top Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson, have seized on the unfolding chaos, painting Biden as an ineffective leader who has lost control of the protests across the country.

Biden offered a brief response Thursday morning at the White House in his most substantive comments on the matter, saying, “Order must prevail.”

“Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancelation of classes and graduation – none of this is a peaceful protest,” Biden said. “Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.”

Biden said dissent “is essential to democracy” but that it “must never lead to disorder, or to denying the rights of others.”

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