update deskSchools & Higher Education

Federal probe of University of California, Davis centers on alleged Jew-hatred

UC Davis didn’t adequately respond to threats of “violence against individuals who support Israel” and “mocking Jewish students and Zionists,” per a letter from the U.S. Education Department.

The original brick entrance to the University of California, Davis. Credit: Chris Allan/Shutterstock.
The original brick entrance to the University of California, Davis. Credit: Chris Allan/Shutterstock.

On June 11, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it was probing the University of California, Davis for alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of “shared ancestry,” including religion.

The department and its Office for Civil Rights do not typically publicize the reasons for its investigations, though UC Davis provided JNS with a copy of the letter that the Education Department sent notifying the public school about the investigation.

“The complaint alleged that the university discriminated against students on the basis of their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israeli) by failing to respond adequately to incidents of harassment and of these students and by subjecting them to different treatment,” the department stated in the six-page letter.

The April 1 complaint centered specifically on social media postings from Students for Justice in Palestine, since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, “threatening violence against individuals who support Israel, mocking Jewish students and Zionists and containing threatening comments to Jewish and/or Israeli students at protests and other events on the university’s campus,” per the letter.

It added that UC Davis has allegedly “failed to hold SJP accountable under university policies applicable to all student organizations” and that the public school is accused of not requiring “student groups like SJP and Jewish Voices for Peace to comply with university policies for ‘major events’ and has not adequately responded to: the alleged exclusion of Jewish and/or Israeli students from campus events; physical assaults, graffiti, and signage on campus hostile to Jewish and/or Israeli students; or known faculty statements against Jewish and/or Israeli students on university webpages and social media.”

The department requested extensive documents from the university, including “a narrative response to the issues opened for investigation and a copy of any documents or data relied upon in the narrative or supporting the facts stated in the narrative,” by July 12.

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