Feds Investigate Alleged Anti-Semitism at UC Santa Cruz
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched the investigation this month. It is only the second major systemic anti-Semitism case that the office has pursued. The investigation is in response to a complaint filed by Hebrew lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who claimed in June 2009 that university-sponsored events had "crossed the line from anti-Israel to anti-Semitic."
As a federally funded school, UC Santa Cruz is not allowed to discriminate based on race, color or national origin, according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. In November 2010, religion was added to this list, making discrimination against students of any religion a federally punishable crime.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the anti-Semitic activity at the school, Rossman-Benjamin said, was that it "was often coming from faculty."
“If we were talking about events thrown by student groups, like Students for Justice in Palestine or a Muslim student union, that’s what those groups do. I understand that,” she said. “But coming from the university, it really legitimizes it, makes it acceptable at an academic level, and that seems unethical. It’s an abuse of academic freedom.”
“People talk a lot about diversity and inclusiveness and principles of community here," Rossman-Benjamin added. "But that doesn’t seem to extend to the Jewish students.”