House antisemitism investigation targets University of California, Berkeley

The school is the first public school to come under formal scrutiny from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

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University of California in Berkeley campus

The University of California, Berkeley, on Tuesday became the fifth target of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s expanding investigation of antisemitism on college campuses.

In a letter to Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, University of California President Michael Drake and University of California Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib, Rep.Virginia Foxx (R-NC) requested documents relating to the school’s handling of incidents and reports of antisemitism, and internal communications and meeting notes relating to antisemitism and Israel. 

It also requests documentation relating to the school’s equity and inclusion office and related programs, as well as foreign donations to the school.

The letter highlights a number of antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents on Berkeley’s campus, including a riot targeting Jewish students that shut down a recent speaking event; multiple incidents of assault, harassment, vandalism and robbery; an ongoing blockade of a campus gate that the school has declined to break up; an incident when students were offered extra credit for attending a pro-Palestinian protest; a public statement by a pro-Palestinian student group praising the Oct. 7 attack; anti-Israel and antisemitic comments by faculty; and the college’s own response to Oct. 7.

It also notes that in August of 2022 — months before the Oct. 7 attacks — nine Berkeley Law School student groups adopted bylaws committing to boycotting speakers who support Zionism or Israel.

“An environment of pervasive antisemitism has been documented at UC Berkeley dating back to well before the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack,” Foxx wrote. She also referenced several instances of internal criticism from students and faculty, as well as condemnation from the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.

Foxx gave the school until April 2 to respond to the request.

A UC Berkeley student spoke to a committee roundtable on antisemitism last month; five of the nine schools whose students appeared at the event have now been hit with document requests. UC Berkeley is the first public university to become part of the investigation.

Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesperson, said that the school would “provide a comprehensive response to the committee’s questions and concerns,” adding that “UC Berkeley has long been committed to confronting antisemitism, and to supporting the needs and interests of its Jewish students, faculty, and staff” and “has an unwavering commitment to ensuring every student feels safe and welcome, at all times, in all places, regardless of who they are, or what they believe in.”

He also noted that the speaker whose event was called off due to the riot in February spoke on Monday without incident.

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