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UCLA under review in House investigation of antisemitism on campus

The United States Capitol is pictured. Six Republican members of the House of Representatives recently sent a letter to Chancellor Gene Block announcing that the House opened an investigation into antisemitism on the UCLA campus. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Vivian Stein

June 6, 2024 5:17 p.m.

The United States House of Representatives announced Monday that it had initiated a review into UCLA’s federal funding and learning environment amid the Department of Education’s investigation into antisemitism on the University’s campus.

In a letter signed by six Republican committee chairs and addressed to Chancellor Gene Block, UC President Michael Drake and UC Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib, the House expressed concern regarding the “ongoing and pervasive acts of antisemitic harassment and intimidation” at UCLA. The letter said the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into UCLA for shared ancestry violations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act based on these claims of discrimination, which include antisemitic harassment and intimidation.

[Related link: UCLA included in Title VI investigation over alleged ethnic discrimination]

Title VI protects students attending federally funded institutions from discrimination – including harassment – based on students’ actual or perceived ancestry; ethnic characteristics or citizenship; or residency in a country with a predominant religion or distinct religious identity, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

“The House of Representatives will not countenance the use of federal funds to indoctrinate students into hateful, antisemitic, anti-American supporters of terrorism,” the letter said.

The Committee on Ways and Means began investigations into several universities regarding antisemitism on their campuses November 15. The Committee on Education and the Workforce – chaired by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, who signed the letter – began its UCLA investigation May 15, according to the letter. The investigation will probe UCLA’s campus compliance with Title VI, safety concerns in learning environment disruptions and federal student aid awards under the Higher Education Act, the letter said.

This investigation comes after Block’s hearing in front of the majority-Republican committee May 23 regarding campus antisemitism. At the hearing, Block concurred with other university leaders that the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – which was recited at the UCLA Palestine solidarity encampment – can be seen as antisemitic. However, he opposed the claim that UCLA had become a “hotbed” of antisemitism.

[Related: Gene Block faces scrutiny over protest response in Congress antisemitism hearing]

The letter said that investigations into campus antisemitism have expanded into a Congress-wide exploration across four additional jurisdictions, including the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the House Judiciary Committee, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

“The undersigned Committee chairs are proud to conduct this work with substantial bipartisan support and will not rest until the facts are known and UCLA and others restore a safe learning environment for your students,” the letter said.

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