Congressman Warns U of California: Failure to Prevent Antisemitism on Campuses Violates Federal Law
A California congressman issued a warning Tuesday to the University of California (UC) Board of Regents that failing to prevent antisemitism in the classroom and on campus “violates federal law.”
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman sent the letter, obtained by The Algemeiner, in response to recent criticism the UC system has been receiving for its failure to combat antisemitic anti-Zionism on its campuses.
Citing a 2010 US Department of Education recommendation, which Sherman helped formulate, he wrote that American universities have an “obligation to protect students from antisemitism.”
Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, universities are required to “protect students from bigotry based on ‘race, color or national origin,’ including antisemitism,” Sherman wrote. “It is important that the University of California enforces Title VI and prevents antisemitism.”
“The UC system, including the Berkeley campus, has been home to a hostile environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students on multiple occasions in recent years,” he wrote.
Referring to an ongoing controversial anti-Zionist UC Berkeley course — which, as The Algemeiner reported, was first suspended, following outcry from pro-Israel activists, and then reinstated — Sherman said the class “could aide in fostering an environment where Jewish and pro-Israel students are unable to fully participate in the University’s education programs and activities.”
The course content, he wrote, violates the Board of Regents’ policy, which prohibits “misuse of the classroom…for political indoctrination.” Furthermore, Sherman said, it is “concerning” that UC Berkeley’s academic senate “ignored the Board of Regents policy” and allowed the course to continue.
Sherman’s letter comes on the heels of a mass appeal by UC faculty, alumni and human rights organizations demanding the eradication of anti-Zionist indoctrination in UC classrooms. As The Algemeiner reported, two letters this week called on UC President Janet Napolitano to enforce existing policies prohibiting anti-Zionist UC faculty from using the classroom to advance their political agendas.
The UC system, as reported by The Algemeiner, recently came under scrutiny as a “hotbed” of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. According to a Brandeis report on national campus antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment, the UC system ranked among the top colleges at which Jewish students “perceive a hostile environment.”