update deskSchools & Higher Education

StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice charges Title VI violations at UC Davis

Incidents include everything from peer-to-peer and faculty misconduct to overt threats of violence and physical assault.

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.

The University of California, Davis has come under the legal spotlight for failing to protect its Jewish students from the recent boom in antisemitic acts in the last six months.

StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice (SCLJ) filed a Title VI complaint on Monday with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which investigates claims of discrimination involving shared ancestry. The group cited such incidents as a professor who advocated murdering Zionists, a student punched in the face after questioning someone tearing down hostage posters and a proliferation of antisemitic graffiti.

SCLJ  is a separate entity from StandWithUs, the nonprofit Israel education organization.

“The reality present on far too many other campuses across the country also exists at UC Davis: There has been an eruption of virulent antisemitism, especially since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel,” Carly F. Gammill, director of legal strategy for SCLJ, told JNS. “The administration has exacerbated the problem by refusing to enforce its own policies and failing to implement new policies that are necessary for the protection of the campus community.”

Gammill told JNS that incidents include “peer-to-peer harassment; faculty misconduct; attempts to exclude Jews and Israelis from campus activities; overt threats of violence; physical assault; and administrative failure to hold policy violators accountable.”

Hillel Board president Barry Klein called anti-Jewish harassment “rampant” on the campus. He said he hoped that the complaint “will lead to the administration taking more effective actions to address these issues.”

SCLJ director Yael Lerman said the university “has neglected and ignored its Jewish and Israeli students’ complaints of rising campus antisemitism. In doing so, the school has allowed UC Davis to become a hotbed for anti-Jewish bigotry, failing their obligation under Title VI.”

Lerman said that the complaint challenged administrators’ seeming indifference to discrimination against Jewish students and demanded that the school “enforce their own policies and disciplining perpetrators of antisemitic conduct. UC Davis must be held accountable, and Jewish, Israeli and Zionist students must be protected.”

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