Huntington Beach, CA –February 12, 2008 –The Orange County Independent Task Force released its Findings and Recommendations (Report), concerning alleged incidents of anti-Semitism at The University of California, Irvine (UCI). The investigation began in February 2007 and lasted approximately one year. Over the course of the investigation Task Force members interviewed, students, faculty and community members and visited the campus on many occasions. Over 80 hours of interviews and numerous documents, articles, and written complaints were used in the compilation of the Report.
Among its findings, The Task Force investigation has concluded the following:
• The existence of: physical and verbal harassment, hate speech directed at Jews by guest speakers, hate events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union (MSU), disruptive behavior on the part of Muslim students when pro-Israeli speakers appear on campus, anti-Israeli classroom environments, and an unresponsive, if not a hostile, administration.
• Hate speakers have targeted “Zionist Jews” at MSU events; that MSU has defiled Jewish symbols, often using depiction of anti-Semitic stereotypes; and that Jewish students were targets of intimidation.
• There has been a lack of response by the administration that has selectively enforced University rules and regulations.
• The Chancellor has refused to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitic speech although other college/university presidents have spoke clearly and decisively against this form of hate speech.
• For the most part, Jewish organizations in Orange County have been ineffective in dealing with anti-Semitism at UCI.
Some of the major recommendations include: UCI should be held accountable for its actions and inaction by community leaders, Jewish organizations, and donors. Students with a strong Jewish identity should consider not attending UCI until tangible changes are made. The Board of Regents should investigate the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in his capacity as an impartial arbiter of University Rules and Regulations.
The Task Force had initially decided to release its Report and Recommendations in December 2007. The release was delayed in order to study the report(s) issued by the United States Department of Education Office, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
On November 30, 2007, (OCR) issued two reports contained in separate letters written to Dr. Michael V. Drake, Chancellor of UCI, and to Ms. Susan B. Tuchman of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). ZOA initiated the complaint in 2004 on behalf of students at UCI. These two letter/findings are not identical and do not contain exactly the same listed allegations. The reason why OCR issued two separate letter/findings is unclear. For example, the letter to Ms. Tuchman deals with a total of 26 allegations while the letter to Chancellor Drake deals with only 13 allegations.
• Certain allegations were dismissed because they were not “related to the national origin of any of the Jewish students who complained”.
• Several other allegations were dismissed as “untimely filed”.
• The University was excused from any wrongdoing based on minimal action it did after these events occurred.
• Key administration figures were not interviewed by OCR investigators until late September 2006, nearly two years after the initial complaint was filed by ZOA on October 11, 2004.
The OCR investigation does not deny that these “allegations” of anti-Semitism occurred. In fact, OCR’s investigation and report(s) substantiates this Task Force’s findings that significant anti-Semitic activities have existed UCI for some period of time and that, while the University administration may not have done anything illegal in this regard, the University has done little if anything, except for token actions after each incident, to help prevent, discourage, curtail or punish the perpetrators of these anti-Semitic activities on campus.