Current News



Four takeaways from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block's testimony on campus antisemitism, protests

Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — UCLA Chancellor Gene Block found himself in the nation’s culture wars hot seat Thursday, interrogated by members of Congress about his handling of complaints of campus antisemitism, amid student protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

For Republican Congress members, the hearing organized by the GOP-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce was a chance to present the University of California, Los Angeles as exhibit A in how not to deal with protests.

Almost as soon as activists set up a Palestinian solidarity encampment April 25 in the heart of campus, Jewish students and faculty complained that demonstrators established checkpoints restricting access to many students, at times singling out students they identified as Zionists. But other Jewish students helped set up the camp, arguing it was not antisemitic, but anti-Zionist.

After a violent mob of pro-Israeli counterprotesters attacked the encampment on April 30, it was dismantled May 2, with law enforcement arresting more than 200 people.

But Thursday’s interrogation was not a forum for a constructive discussion on how universities can navigate the balance between maintaining free speech and protecting students from discrimination.

Instead, Republicans — and some Democrats — took it as an opportunity to score political points.


Frantz Law Group APLC, along with co-counsel, aids victims of man-made ecological disasters in Southern California and beyond

“Over the course of years, decades even, universities gradually nurtured a campus culture of radicalism, in which antisemitism grew and became tolerated by administrators,” Virginia Foxx, the commitee chair, said in her opening remarks.

The Republican from North Carolina assailed Block for allowing UCLA’s protests to spiral out of control.

“For days, you stood by as Jews were assaulted and illegal checkpoints blocked access to campus in broad daylight,” Foxx said. “Your actions were too little, too late.”


swipe to next page

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus