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Congress investigating UCLA over treatment of Jewish students amid pro-Palestinian protests

Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

A congressional education committee has chastised UCLA for its response to a pro-Palestinian encampment and violent instigators who attacked it, calling on the university to turn over documents regarding an "inadequate response to antisemitism and failure to protect Jewish students."

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and his counterparts from Michigan and Yale are already set to testify at a May 23 hearing titled "Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos."

Following violence and growing unrest at campuses nationwide, House Republicans last month began using their oversight powers to pressure colleges to protect Jewish students and crack down on pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The latest move underscores how House Republicans are attempting to use the campus unrest as a major issue during the election year.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in a letter Wednesday directed Block, UC President Michael V. Drake and Rich Leib, chair of the UC Board of Regents, to produce all documents, communications and security videos related to alleged antisemitic incidents at UCLA since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

The conservative congresswoman is also seeking texts and other communications from staff, police and the regents, giving May 21 as the deadline for delivery.

 

The committee investigation is focusing on the activities and handling of a pro-Palestinian encampment that sat outside Royce Hall for two weeks until police dismantled and arrested more than 200 people.

UCLA must turn over "all video/audio recordings since April 24, 2024, including security/surveillance recordings and police body camera recordings, of the UCLA encampment, and related activities," Foxx wrote in the letter.

The inquiry is focusing on the pro-Palestinian encampment and UCLA's decision to allow it as well as a series of incidents Foxx characterized as antisemitic. She also criticized UCLA's decision not to have police ready to intervene on April 30 when counterprotesters violently attacked the camp.

More than a week after the assault by outside aggressors, no one has been arrested. Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating why it took so long to quell the violence, using facial recognition technology, cellphone data and other tools to try to identify the perpetrators.

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