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Major Universities Face Lawsuits, Congressional Hearings Amid Rise in Anti-Semitism on Campus

Jewish groups at the University of California, Berkeley are suing the college, claiming it has become a hotbed of “unchecked” antisemitism, including at its elite law school, Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters. In a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, the nonprofit Louis D. Brandeis Center says UC Berkeley’s leadership turns a blind eye to the long-festering problem of antisemitism on campus, even after displays of harassment and physical violence against Jews following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The complaint also said “no fewer” than 23 law school groups have anti-Jewish policies. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction requiring that UC Berkeley end the hostile environment toward Jews, enforce its nondiscrimination policies, and neither fund nor recognize student groups that exclude Jews.

Meanwhile, Lexi Lonas reports for The Hill that a new poll by the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel International found that 73 percent of Jewish students and 44 percent of non-Jewish students have seen or experienced antisemitism since the start of the school year. Back in 2021, a survey showed only 32 percent of Jewish students directly experienced antisemitism while 31 percent of Jewish students saw antisemitism that wasn’t aimed towards them. The lawsuit and the poll come at the same time that the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three of the country’s most prestigious universities, are set to testify before a congressional committee next week on claims that antisemitic protests have taken place on their campuses. Finding a line between legitimate protest and discrimination or hate speech has proven difficult for US university leaders, who are bidden to uphold academic and political speech freedoms in their charters.

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