University Under Federal Investigation Amid Antisemitism Allegations: REPORT

(Photo credit Scott Nelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights launched a Title VI investigation into the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) amid antisemitism allegations, multiple outlets reported.

The Office of Civil Rights announced the opening of this “investigation for discrimination involving shared ancestry” Thursday, according to their website. (RELATED: Harvard University Reportedly Condemns Antisemitic Image Posted, Retracted By Pro-Palestinian Groups)

Title VI refers to the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibited programs and activities that receive federal assistance from discriminating against people “on the basis of race, color, and national origin,” according to the Department of Justice. While the Office of Civil Rights did not go into details over what precisely prompted their investigation, UC Santa Barbara has been the site of alleged antisemitic incidents, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported. Tessa Veksler, the Jewish president of the student body, posted on Instagram photos of campus signs allegedly targeting her in February.


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A post shared by Tessa Veksler (@tessaveksler)

Some of the signs appeared to read “Zionist Not Allowed,” “Zionists Are Not Welcome,” “When People Are Occupied, Resistance Is Justified” and “Tessa Veksler Supports Genocide.” One photo showed faded markings reading “Zionists Are Not Welcome” written next to a mezuzah —  a small casting on a doorpost with a Jewish prayer inside that is used to indicate God’s presence.

“When the majority of the Jewish community considers themselves Zionists, this rhetoric targets, isolates, and vilifies Jewish students. This incident is not an isolated event but rather a culmination of neglecting to adequately address the implications of such speech and actions within our university,” Veksler wrote in one of her posts.

Rabbi Gershon Klein, the co-director of the local Chabad on campus, tweeted about one of the signs calling for Zionists not to be allowed in the kitchen, writing, “This is undeniable Jew hatred. Sickening. UCSB. We’re better than this.”

UCSB’s Office of the Chancellor issued a statement on Feb. 26 noting the presence of “offensive social media messages and signage at the MultiCultural Center entrance” and said the school had opened an investigation into the matter.

Rabbi Klein also took to Twitter on March 5 to notify people about an incident where some “masked student” allegedly said, “Hitler should have finished the job” to a student wearing a “Proud Jewish Gaucho” shirt on her way to class.

UCSB has not been the only university to come under investigation for potential civil rights violations. The Department of Education has also launched an investigation of alleged cases of antisemitism and islamophobia against George Mason University, according to News4Washington.