Feds Dismiss Complaint of Anti-Semitism at Cal
The U.S. Department of Education has dismissed complaints that UC Berkeley and two other UC campuses tolerated a hostile, anti-Jewish atmosphere. The complaint against Cal cited mock Israeli checkpoints as one example.
The complaint cited such examples as a mock Israeli military checkpoint staged last year by Students for Justice in Palestine and a Jewish student who was offended when a professor in a Survey of World History course allegedly mentioned Israeli air strikes without mentioning other current political issues, according to a letter from the Office of Civil Rights released by the campus on Tuesday.
The investigation included interviews with students who complained, member of campus Jewish organizations and members of Students for Justice in Palestine. It also included campus observations in March this year of demonstrations related to Israeli-Palestinian relations.
The protests "constituted expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community," the Office of Civil Rights said. "In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience. In this context, the events that the complainants described do not constitute actionable harassment.”
In a statement Tuesday, UC Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said, “The claim that there is a hostile environment for Jewish students at Berkeley is, on its face, entirely unfounded. The campus takes great pride in its vibrant Jewish community and in the many academic and cultural opportunities available to members of that community and others interested in its history and culture. We will continue our ongoing efforts to protect free speech rights while promoting respectful dialogue and maintaining a campus environment that is safe for all our students.”
In related news, the Los Angeles Times reported today, Wednesday, that the Office of Civil Rights also dismissed similar complaints against UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz.
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