Skip to Content

Press Releases

UC Berkeley Next in @EdWorkforceCmte’s Antisemitism Probe

WASHINGTON –Today, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) Chancellor Dr. Carol T. Christ, President Michael V. Drake, and Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib requesting documents and information regarding UC Berkeley’s response to numerous antisemitic incidents on campus and its administration’s failure to protect Jewish students and faculty.

In the letter, Foxx writes: “The Committee on Education and the Workforce (the Committee) is investigating the University of California, Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) response to antisemitism and its failure to protect Jewish students. On February 26, 2024, an anti-Israel protest organized by the student group Bears for Palestine erupted into a violent riot in which anti-Israel activists assaulted Jewish students and shattered glass windows, forcing the cancellation of an Israeli speaker’s lecture. In recent weeks, anti-Israel students have occupied and blocked UC Berkeley’s landmark Sather Gate, a key entrance to the center of campus, and harassed Jewish passersby. UC Berkeley’s failure to address this activity breaches a specific and longstanding university commitment to keep the gate unobstructed as part of a legal settlement and constitutes a selective dereliction of duty to enforce university rules against harassment.”

The letter continues: “An October 2023 survey of 132 Jewish UC Berkeley students found that 85 percent of Jewish students felt ‘the [UC Berkeley] administration has [not] adequately addressed the safety concerns of Jewish students impacted by the recent violence in Israel,’ 75 percent do not feel safe expressing their Jewish identity on campus, and 85.6 percent were warned by family or friends about UC Berkeley’s “‘antisemitic’ (sic) reputation”.”

The letter details numerous antisemitic incidents at UC Berkeley, including:

  • The anti-Israel student group Bears for Palestine organized activists to disrupt a speech by an Israeli speaker at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Playhouse, sparking a violent riot and forcing the speech’s cancellation. At least two Jewish students were assaulted during the riot.
  • On two separate occasions, UC Berkeley students holding Israeli flags were assaulted at anti-Israel rallies.
  • Jewish UC Berkeley professor Steven Davidoff Solomon received an antisemitic e-mail at his university account with the subject line “You are a dirty Jew” and the message, “[i]f the Holocaust were happening right now, you’d be the first one to be gassed.”
  • A Jewish student’s apartment was robbed, and an antisemitic note was left in it saying, “Fuck Jews. Free Palestine. From the River to the Sea.” While a campuswide email the following morning identified the event as a potential hate crime, it failed to identify it as antisemitic in nature, in contrast to university communications about hate crimes toward other groups.

Foxx concludes by requesting information, which includes:

  • All reports of antisemitic acts or incidents and related documents and communications since January 1, 2021, including but not limited to all reports of antisemitic acts, incidents, or discrimination at UC Berkeley.
  • Documents sufficient to show UC Berkeley’s policies and procedures that ensure and preserve access to safe and uninterrupted learning environments and respond to and address reported violations, including through law enforcement, investigative, and disciplinary processes.
  • All documents referring or relating to the findings and results of any disciplinary processes, changes in academic status, or personnel actions by UC Berkeley toward UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff, and other UC Berkeley affiliates related to conduct involving the targeting of Jews, Israelis, Israel, Zionists, or Zionism since January 1, 2021.

To read the full letter, click here.


Stay Connected