Jewish students urged to avoid UC Irvine

Anti-Semitism is so rampant at the University of California-Irvine that Jewish students should avoid enrolling, a new report says.

An unaffiliated task force made up of Jewish residents of Irvine conducted 80 hours of interviews with students, faculty and residents and determined that anti-Semitic acts are “real and well documented” on campus, according to an article in the local Daily Pilot.

“Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech has been unrelenting,” the report alleges. The report takes faculty to task for “political correctness” that prevents them from speaking out against anti-Israel events and speakers sponsored by the school’s very active Muslim Student Union.

The report comes two months after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights completed its own report, which states the university does not discriminate against Jewish students.

Chacellor Michael Drake declined to participate in the task force’s investigation, the Pilot reports. Pilot reporters did not speak to anyone from the Muslim Student Union.

The task force was created by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County in February 2007 to investigate anti-Semitism at the university following a series of clashes between Jewish and Muslim student groups. Hillel dropped the investigation last summer, but the task force continued working on its own.

The task force report supports the Muslim Student Union’s right to free speech, but demands that the university take stronger action against “hateful” speech, and speech calling for the destruction of Israel. It also takes Jewish groups, including the federation, the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel to task for not supporting Jewish students more vigorously.

Jeffrey Rips, executive director of Hillel at UC Irvine, told JTA that Jewish life on campus is thriving. He says there are nearly 1,000 Jewish students, a strong Jewish fraternity and sorority life, and between 50 and 120 students each Friday night at Hillel’s Shabbat meals.

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