update deskSchools & Higher Education

Foxx: UCLA leaders allowed ‘pervasive hostile environment for students’

The House Education Committee chair told JNS that the university “must answer for its failure to protect Jewish students on its campus.”

A corridor outside a library at the University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: thshao/Shutterstock.
A corridor outside a library at the University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: thshao/Shutterstock.

Congress has begun an investigation into the response by administrators at the University of California, Los Angeles to anti-Israel tent encampment protests this spring that at times have turned violent.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House’s Education and the Workforce Committee, sent a letter on May 15 to University of California leadership, including board of regents chair Richard Leib; system president Michael Drake; and UCLA chancellor Gene Block, requiring the delivery of pertinent documents by May 21.

“I am horrified by UCLA’s negligent and incomprehensible reaction to antisemitic violence and exclusion on its campus,” Foxx wrote. “UCLA’s leaders have allowed their campus to become a severe and pervasive hostile environment for Jewish students, standing by as students, faculty and affiliates were assaulted and harassed.”

Foxx told JNS that “UCLA must answer for its failure to protect Jewish students on its campus.”

She told the academic leaders that “for days, the unlawful encampment’s checkpoints illegally denied students access to campus buildings. Jewish students were attacked, harassed and intimidated for walking on their own campus, and all UCLA students were denied a safe and uninterrupted learning environment.”

Calling the tent protests “only the most recent display of a pervasive environment of antisemitism that has long been an issue at UCLA,” Foxx cited 2015 and 2018 studies that showed as much as one-third of Jewish students targeted both for their religious identity and actions undertaken by Israel.

The end of Foxx’s 10-page letter laid out the documents and media demanded by the committee, including all communications among UCLA administrators since April 24 relating to the encampment; disciplinary documents regarding antisemitic incidents since the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7; and video recordings from the various protests.

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