US Dept. of Education Dismisses Jewish Students’ Complaints Against UC Berkeley

A decision by the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights may leave Jewish students at UC Berkeley feeling even less at home than ever.  But some say it may well be the impetus for them to step up and speak out on this campus, well known for student-led BDS movements.

The Office for Civil Rights dismissed complaints filed by Jewish students against UC Berkeley for “failing to respond promptly and effectively to notice of the hostile environment” created on campus by anti-Israel protests.

In its decision, the OCR wrote: “In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a reasonable circumstance that a student in higher education may experience. In this context, the events that the complainants describe do not constitute actionable harassment.”

The attorney representing the students, Joel H. Siegel, told that he would consider appealing the decision. He pointed to the US Justice Dept.’s decision in the Compton Cookout case, in which a racist-themed party organized by UC San Diego students used racial stereotypes, offending the school’s African American students.


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