Antisemitism complaints at UC Berkeley investigated by House committee

UC Berkeley is the latest university to be added to a list of schools under investigation by the federal government for antisemitism; Cal was told on Tuesday at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce for possible antisemitism on the campus.

Chairperson Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. told UC Berkeley that the committee has "grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of UC Berkeley’s response to antisemitism on its campus."

According to the committee, the investigation comes on the heels of multiple incidents including when a female MBA student at the university's business school accused Cal of fostering an environment where Jewish students are not given equal opportunities to learn at a congressional roundtable event.

Examples also include pro-Palestinian protesters blocking Sather Gate and blocking an Israeli lawyer from speaking – though that lawyer has since been able to return to campus. 

In a statement to KTVU, UC Berkeley said it has "unwavering commitment to ensuring every student feels safe and welcome, at all times, in all places, regardless of who they are, or what they believe in."

Cal student Hannah Beth Schlacter told the told the committee that since Oct. 7, she has felt the need to hide parts of her Jewish identity on campus and that the school "fosters an environment where Jewish students are not given an opportunity to learn in classrooms or participate in extracurriculars." 

UC Berkeley has until April 2 to turn over a wide range of documents, including reports on antisemitic incidents dating back to 2021, action taken, information on foreign donations and copies of minutes from leaders on campus.

The same committee has also requested similar documents from Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Mark Bloom of Oakland's Temple Beth Abraham said he's not surprised there are investigations into many major universities,

"It's been building for a long time," he said. "But I'm very saddened." 

He added: While I think Cal and the chancellor have said all the right things, they haven't done the right things because the harassment continues."