Wednesday, December 12, 2007

US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issues report on UCI's response to anti-Semitism

I will comment later once I have time to read through everything.

The 11-page report, as published by the OC Register

Full article: (Link)

Civil rights investigation clears UCI
Agency says lack of evidence in allegations by Jewish students.
The Orange County Register

IRVINE – A federal civil rights investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism at UC Irvine found “insufficient evidence” that the university failed to respond appropriately to complaints by Jewish students, according to a reportreleased this afternoon.

Investigators with the department’s Office for Civil Rights visited the campus 11 times since 2006 to monitor demonstrations and interview students and staff. They failed to substantiate complaints that campus officials had ignored or downplayed anti-Semitic behavior, according to the Nov. 30 report released today.

UCI has earned a national reputation, spread largely by bloggers and pro-Zionist organizations, of being, in one organization’s words, “the most notoriously anti-Semitic campus” in America.

That appellation has been vehemently denied by campus officials, who say tensions between Jewish and Muslim students on their campus are about the same as at similar schools.

Earlier this year, the University of California released a report showing that 85 percent of UCI students said they believed there was respect for all students regardless of race or religion on campus. That is about the same percentage as other UC campuses around the state.

The Department of Education investigation was launched in 2004, after complaints filed on behalf of students by the Zionist Organization of America, a pro-Israeli organization with chapters in a dozen cities, including Los Angeles.

Some Jewish students complained about harassment, including reports of swastikas on campus and destruction of a Holocaust memorial display.

Muslim students have similarly complained about problems, including a fire that destroyed a mock depiction of the Palestine wall.

Jeffrey Rips, executive director of the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, which operates a Jewish student union at UCI, said he had not had a chance to review the report yet today, which is the last day of Hanukkah.

“I’m glad they finally came out with a report,” Rips said. “One way or another, it can give direction to the campus.”

The Los Angeles office of the Zionist Organization of America referred callers this afternoon to the East Coast office, which had closed for the day.

In its report, the civil rights office said that none of the 13 allegations could be substantiated. Some could not be acted upon because they were too old. The agency requires that complaints be filed within 180 days unless they show a pattern of discrimination.

According to the report, the agency found that several years-old complaints, including one of a rock thrown at a Jewish student and destruction of a Holocaust memorial in 2003, did not contribute to a hostile environment on campus because they “constitute isolated acts that were unrelated to the timely alleged acts.”

In other cases, investigators found that university officials acted appropriately, or that the complaint could not be conclusively identified as anti-Semitic.

For example, a swastika found in a bathroom in the Social Ecology building could not be considered anti-Semitic because it was accompanied by a vulgar phrase toward Asians.

In another reported incident, where a Jewish student’s flag of Israel displayed on the door of her dorm room was defaced with a swastika, the agency found that the university “responded promptly and effectively.”

“When OCR (Office of Civil Rights) investigated the timely allegations that suggested a possible hostile environment based on national origin, OCR found, in all instances, that the University took prompt and effective action to address the incidents,” according to the report.

While acknowledging that speeches, articles, marches, symbols and other events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union were “offensive to Jewish students,” they determined that they were not based on their national origin, but “rather based on opposition to the policies of Israel.”

In the case of inflammatory campus speakers, investigators found that most speakers “distinguished opposition to Zionism from opposition to Jews.”

The report also states there is “no evidence that the University implemented a systematic discriminatory policy.”

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake issued a statement saying that campus officials are “very gratified with the outcome and closure of this matter.”

“We are firmly committed to freedom of speech and open discourse, which are central to our missions of teaching, research and public service, and equally committed to maintaining a safe, non-threatening environment for all members of our campus community,” Drake said in his statement.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who has been critical of UCI in the past, said he wasn’t surprised that many of the older complaints were not substantiated.

“This is a classic case of distant bureaucracy in action,” DeVore said.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7994 or


Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses said...

Thanks for the info.

I posted about this at

Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses said...

Sources report that many people close to the investigation are enraged that the letter which ended the investigation into anti-Semitism at Irvine did not even discuss or consider many of the allegations made by the complainant. The letter, in essence, selectively chose a few incidents, and arguments, while completely ignoring others which formed the basis of the complaint. Expect a strong and detailed response from interested parties in the future.