Appeals want feds to revisit campus anti-Semitism cases
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Attorneys representing two former U.C. Berkeley students and the co-founder of a nonprofit organization that combats anti-Semitism have filed separate appeals with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The appeals challenge the OCR’s closing of two investigations: One was looking at whether U.C. Berkeley tolerated an anti-Semitic climate on campus, and the other was looking into the same thing at U.C. Santa Cruz.
In August, the OCR ruled that incidents described in each original complaint either fell under the broad umbrella of free speech or that the particulars were too vague to support a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Attorneys Joel Siegal and Neal Sher have filed the appeal in the U.C. Berkeley case, and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the nonprofit AMCHA Initiative and a U.C. professor, has filed in the U.C. Santa Cruz case.
Siegal and Sher said the OCR failed to investigate “any of the factual allegations” arising out of several incidents of intimidation directed against Jewish students and others opposed to the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel.
AMCHA called the OCR’s process for collecting data “flawed, incomplete, inadequate and misleading,” adding that the OCR is engaging in “a discriminatory double standard against Jewish students that is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.” — j. staff
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