UCI Administration Cleared of Anti-Semitism Complaints
A federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has found ‘insufficient evidence’ that the UC Irvine administration has ignored harassment directed at Jewish students, according to the final report of the investigation, released last December.
Federal authorities launched the investigation in 2004, after receiving complaints that Jewish students at UCI were subjected to harassment and a hostile environment, and that the university failed to respond effectively to the complaints. The report described 13 allegations of anti-Semitic behavior, which the university allegedly failed to respond to, including the destruction of a Holocaust Memorial display in 2003, anti-Semitic speakers and events brought by student groups and the defacement of an Israeli flag on a student’s dormitory door in 2006.
The report concluded that several of the complaints were ‘isolated acts [that] cannot be said to create a single hostile environment.’ The report also concluded that the remaining complaints were ‘not based on the national origin of the Jewish students, but rather on opposition to the policies of Israel’ (which does not fall under the jurisdiction of OCR) and that the university’s responses to each complaint were ‘prompt and effective.’
The report is the latest development in the ongoing tensions between Jewish and Muslim students on campus, which have reached national headlines.
UCI Chancellor Michael Drake reacted to the report. ‘I am extraordinarily pleased with the outcome of careful and thorough investigation, and I certainly hope that it gives comfort to any members of the university or broader community who may have had any doubts about our intentions or actions.’
The administration insists that this report closes the door on accusations of ignoring anti-Semitism and allowing Jewish or pro-Israel students to be intimidated on campus.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez expressed his satisfaction for the thorough investigation. ‘This was an intensive three-year investigation that reviewed a six-year timeframe, and the OCR has officially closed the investigation. We’re happy about that, and we’d like to move forward.’
However, Jewish organizations were quick to condemn the report.
Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America (which brought the original complaints against UCI), said in a press release, ‘OCR has sent a devastating message to Jews