Sunday, September 24

DPO investigation finds that Milan Chatterjee violated UCLA policy


An investigation led by the Discrimination Prevention Office found that former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee violated viewpoint neutrality during the last school year. (Owen Emerson/Daily Bruin senior staff)

An investigation led by the Discrimination Prevention Office found that former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee violated viewpoint neutrality during the last school year. (Owen Emerson/Daily Bruin senior staff)



Correction: The original version of this article contained multiple errors. The article incorrectly stated the Discrimination Prevention Office filed charges. In fact, the DPO only made findings in its investigation of a complaint. The article incorrectly stated the DPO conducted investigations into claims of professional conduct violation, misusing GSA resources, and acting outside of the authority of the presidency. In fact, the only claim investigated was whether or not viewpoint neutrality was violated.

A UCLA investigation found that a former graduate student government president violated university policy during the 2015-2016 school year.

The Discrimination Prevention Office, or DPO, completed an investigation June 29 that found former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee in violation of viewpoint neutrality in the GSA’s allocation of mandatory student fees. The DPO is a team within the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that investigates claims of discrimination by faculty members and other campus entities.

The Diversity Caucus, which connects student groups to promote diversity, and Students for Justice in Palestine filed a complaint to the DPO against Chatterjee on Feb. 29 for placing a stipulation on a Diversity Caucus event’s funding.

UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said in an email statement that Chatterjee violated policy by making funding dependent on whether groups supporting divestment from Israel were involved in the event. The investigation included interviews and reviews of meeting minutes, email correspondence and other documents.

University policy requires financial allocations to be made without regard to the viewpoint of any registered campus organizations. It also requires student governments to follow viewpoint-neutral criteria when reallocating mandatory campus-based student fees.

Chatterjee granted the Diversity Caucus $2,000 for their November town hall meeting on Oct. 16, but threatened to rescind the funding if organizations related to Divest from Israel were involved in the hosting of the event.

SJP contacted three legal groups that issued a letter in November stating Chatterjee violated students’ first amendment rights with the stipulation. Members of the GSA forum also created a subcommittee to investigate Chatterjee’s actions, but it dissolved when they were unable reach a consensus about how to evaluate the president’s actions.

The subcommittee accused Chatterjee of violating professional conduct by sending retaliatory emails, misusing GSA resources and acting outside the authority of the presidency and cabinet to create policy and make  funding decisions.

In a special forum in April, GSA found Chatterjee guilty of violating the GSA code and constitution with a 12-3-5 vote and decided to draft a letter of censure. The letter stated the forum disapproved of Chatterjee’s actions, but did not find cause to remove him from office.

Chatterjee said he does not think the investigation conclusions are fair because the viewpoint neutrality policy is not widely available. He added GSA members, faculty advisors and administrators knew about the stipulation he placed on the Diversity Caucus’ event funding before it was approved and did not oppose it.

“When this whole thing happened … I wanted guidance about the policy, but administrators were not responsive,” he said. “I hope that in the future, administrators will be more responsive to the queries of student leaders and can make policies more available.”

Rahim Kurwa, a graduate student in sociology and SJP member, said he thinks the GSA did the right thing by undoing the restriction and apologizing to involved parties.

“The report issued by the DPO basically confirms all of the arguments made by the Diversity Caucus and SJP since we found out in October,” Kurwa said.

Kurwa added he hopes more students will become aware of the outcome of the investigation to prevent similar discriminatory actions in the future.

Peter Weil, Chatterjee’s attorney, said he has reviewed the DPO report and intends to contest it.

“We have carefully reviewed the report and found it to be deeply and fatally flawed,” Weil said. “Milan was denied due process and the DPO investigation lacked fundamental fairness.”

The investigation report did not recommend consequences and any further action is dependent on GSA and Student Affairs, Vazquez said.

Contributing reports by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, News editor.

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Campus Politics editor

Hoang is the assistant news editor for the Campus Politics beat. She covers USAC, ASUCLA, GSA, faculty, administration and all things relating to student government. She was previously an Academics news contributor covering graduate schools, student government and research.

Science & Health editor

Chiu is the assistant news editor for the Science & Health beat. She covers the UCLA Health system and UCLA-related research. She was previously a National and Higher Education news contributor covering state, national and international news.


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  • It was the Pride of Krakow

    SJP bullying.

    • Said

      When presented with facts, claim “bullying”. Good job.

  • LRJGMD

    Wow. Talk about poor reporting. The correction basically negated 99% of the article. Hoang and Chui need to go back to Journalism 101.

    • scottrose

      And, to be sure that people see the correction, it should be placed at both the top and the bottom of the article, with the word Correction highlighted in red, and in typeface as large, or larger than that in the article itself. The reporting is that of weasels.

  • scottrose

    In relation to the vicious bigotry and lies involved in a lot of anti-Israel hate speech, the following needs to be clarified: Many anti-Israel people who openly call for Israel to be destroyed, turn around and use the canard of “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.”
    It must be stated that portraying Israel in ways similar to how Jews are portrayed in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” absolutely is anti-Semitic. And, disseminating the opinion that the Jews of Israel, and Israel itself, must be wiped out also is anti-Semitic, the more so that 50% of all Jews in the world live in Israel.
    The majority of Israeli Jews today do not have European origins — though the “Wipe Israel Out” crowd has as one of its favorite propaganda “factoids” the notion that Israeli Jews all came from Europe. The majority of Israeli Jews today are either from Arab Muslim-majority countries or descendants of Jews from those countries. Jews in those countries were always in a relatively precarious position — in each country throughout history from the earliest Muslim conquests these Jews’ ancestors were subject to periodic pogroms, or being treated as dhimmis required to pay special higher taxes than others, and other abuses.
    Notably, in the 1800s, Jews from Yemen, fleeing persecution there, founded what would become Tel Aviv in an empty area outside Jaffa. By 1947, the U.N. offered a two-state resolution accepted by Middle Eastern Jews but overwhelmingly rejected by Arabs, whose only counter-proposal was a war with the pre-announced goal of “Driving the Jews into the sea.”
    In Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Jordan annexed the West Bank and ethnically cleansed all Jews from it. (Previously when Jordan was formed in 1921, it ethnically cleansed all Jews from its territory). Jordan also annexed East Jerusalem, at a time when Jerusalem had a Jewish majority, and ethnically cleansed all Jews from the Jewish Quarter of the city and then systematically destroyed historical evidence of a Jewish presence there — including the destruction of many structures hundreds and even thousands of years old.
    Any demonizing of Israel – talking about the country as though it had no right to exist, and/or without acknowledging its struggle to survive in the face of enemies who want it wiped off the map is blatant anti-Semitism (characteristic of prejudice against and hatred towards Jews).

    Every single day you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews. It has to stop.
    When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars.
    In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.
    You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible, horrible way to think.
    In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years. And if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now.
    There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.

    • Eliza

      Balderdash: Neither SJP or BDS calls for the ‘Jews of Israel, and Israel itself, must be wiped out’.

      There is nothing anti-Semitic about fair criticism of Israeli policies and/or behaviour in relation to its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Not that familiar with the detail of the ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ but if there is any overlap, so what. You can hardly expect people not to call out Israel as they see it, simply because they may be some similarity with ‘The Protocols’

      As for Chatterjee; he is reportedly stated that ‘the viewpoint neutrality policy is not widely available’ and that he had sought ‘guidance about the policy but the administrators were not responsive’. Well, the DPO investigation has presumably clarified the matter for him. His actions, in conditioning funding on the preventing a BDS presence was found by the DPO to be in contradiction of viewpoint neutrality.

      Now, you may disagree with the viewpoint of SJP and their support of BDS but they are entitled to put forward their view.

      • sgs

        They are entitled to put forward their view. That being said, those who disagree with the viewpoint of SJP and the BDS movement also have that same right. The travesty is that there is no dialogue possible.

        I am still researching the genesis of this situation, but at first glance it appears that Mr. Chatterjee wanted a dialogue to occur without an automatic shutdown of opposing views. If his letter is correct, he wanted a stand-down by both sides. His approach may have been imperfect, but it appears that all parties share blame.

        And sadly, and most importantly, there yet again is no progress or real dialogue. Peace.

        • Said

          The article states that he would withhold funding if there was a BDS presence. His approach wasn’t only imperfect, it was biased. No need for a person like that in any administrative capacity.

          • sgs

            Said, I don’t take all my facts from this article. Other news sources stated that there was a BDS table/presence. I believe that the BDS organization confirmed this?

            It is more complex and nuanced than presented. We actually DO have a need for people with diverse views. And if everyone who disagrees is run off, there will never be a dialogue. Peace.

      • abbushuki

        Both SJP and BDS support the Hamas Junta in Gaza. THEY call for the genocide of all Jews. So their supporting promoters of genocide, I suppose, means they are not really guilty of calling for genocide of Jews? If SJP and BDS called for the destruction of all Blacks and Hispanics, would you still support them? But if it’s to murder the Jews, you applaud. Waytogo, Eliza

      • ricardo

        Don’t worry Eliza, in the end you’ll get it your way – thanks to very nice and fair people like you, Israel will be destroyed, and a little bit later, Shaharia Law will be imposed here in US too. Just remember you will not be able to complain when they destroy the Lincoln memorial like they did in Palmira, and don’t cry when your grandchildren are treated like the Yazidis are treated today in Iraq… the people you’re protecting don’t like dissent, and don’t like the truth either.

    • Dani

      What do you mean “the majority of Israeli Jews do not have European origins”?

      Jews do not have European origins *period*. Being exiled/displaced to Europe for centuries does not make us European. Jews, regardless of where they were exiled to, are indigenous to the Middle East.

      Even the US Census recognizes that now, because Jewish-Americans are now classified as Middle Eastern American (including those who are neither Israeli or Sephardic/Mizrahi).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Eastern_Americans

      • Raanan Ikar

        I am a Kurdish Jew from Iran with family from Iraq, Iran, and Israel. Any Jew from any other part of the world is as much Jewish as I, we are all brethren with One Torah.

  • ג’ין גולד

    Suggest reading the full background BEFORE passing judgement. This story is biased, incomplete and misleading. http://tinyurl.com/jljg6qw

    • http://cargocollective.com/davidhwon David Won

      bruh, you posted a link from the Daily Wire, a news source known for conservative, right-wing reportage; that’s certainly not the “full background” of this story.

      • Dani

        Whatever your opinion is about Daily Wire, this article is sheer defamatory garbage.

        Not that I would expect any better from racist SJP slime.

        • http://cargocollective.com/davidhwon David Won

          I don’t think it is solely my opinion about the Daily Wire as having incomplete and/or biased reporting. So it’s not just “whatever” in terms of being able to have a full understanding of what exactly has been happening.

          Also not sure why the defamatory tag of “racist SJP slime” has to be thrown out there. It just looks like you made up your own mind about the topic without considering the full picture of what has actually happened vs. the current accusations being thrown around by people on either side of the issue.

  • Dani

    I think it’s safe to say that an exodus of Jews from UCLA is inevitable at this point.

    Congratulations, “anti-racists”.

  • Raanan Ikar

    BLM, SJP, BDS – are all sham dishonorable movements. They take narrow one-sided stances on issues that generally involve multiple parties. Investigate their funding, their member’s connections, their member’s families and their connections, and have these organizations dismantled.