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Letter to UC Regents

February 26, 2024


Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents

1111 Franklin St.,12th floor

Oakland, CA 94607

Dear UC Regents,

We write to you from StandWithUs, an international, nonprofit organization with the mission of educating about Israel and combating antisemitism, joined by attorneys at the California-based law firm of Glaser Weil. Since Hamas’ October 7, 2023, invasion—during which Hamas-led terrorists poured into Israel, slaughtered, raped and tortured over 1,200 people, injured over 1,200 more, and abducted 240 people—antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have skyrocketed.  

This is especially the case on UC college campuses, where StandWithUs has received voluminous requests for legal help with incidents involving physical assaults, criminal threats, discrimination, and harassment against Jewish and Israeli students. University administrators have ignored or excused such bigotry under various pretexts, including a distorted interpretation of the First Amendment that misidentifies such hateful conduct as “political speech.” In fact, many Jewish students are being maligned, mistreated and denied access to educational opportunities on campus because of their real or perceived connection to Israel, which for many Jews is an integral part of their shared ancestral and ethnic identity.

As UC Regents, you are the leadership for the UC system. We therefore call upon you to exercise your authority and influence to combat this alarming trend on UC campuses. We understand that UC administrators are likewise requesting your guidance and would welcome it during these difficult times.

Just as Virginia’s Attorney General has demonstrated clarity and leadership in recent directives and actions, we urge you to remind UC campus administrators of their obligation to take antisemitism seriously by enforcing applicable rules and policies in an even-handed manner to ensure that Jewish and Israeli students are treated the same as their non-Jewish counterparts, and to prevent the normalization of antisemitism on campus. Specifically, we request that you take the following proactive steps to ensure Jewish and Israeli students are able to participate safely and fully in all campus programs and activities:

1.     Remind universities that they must enforce all of their policies, including nondiscrimination policies, in an evenhanded way to ensure that all members of the university community, including Jewish and Israeli members, are treated in the same manner, and protected with respect to their physical safety and from discrimination, including on the basis of shared ancestral and ethnic identity connected to Israel.


2.     Instruct universities to ensure that no Jewish students are denied access to educational opportunities on the basis of their identity, including by: prohibiting registered student organizations (RSOs) from excluding or otherwise discriminating against Jews on any basis including shared ancestral and ethnic identity; denying university funding to any RSO that excludes or otherwise discriminates against Jews on any basis, including their shared ancestral or ethnic identity; and denying official recognition to any RSO that excludes Jews on the basis of their shared ancestral or ethnic identity.


3.     Remind universities that when an antisemitic incident occurs on campus, the university must address the specific conduct as well as the broader campus climate for the Jewish community by promptly taking the following steps:

a.     Publicly communicating to the entire university community that the university will condemn, investigate, and punish any conduct that harasses or discriminates against members of the Jewish community, or others, on the basis of their ethnic or shared ancestral identity;

b.     Providing education about antisemitism, including by conducting mandatory training for administrators tasked with investigating reports of antisemitism, and for faculty and students implicated in allegations of antisemitic discrimination;

c.     Instituting strict review and approval policies to ensure that the administration does not conduct or finance programs that deny equal protection to Jewish members of the university community, including those for whom Zionism is an integral part of their identity.


4.     Hold accountable demonstrators who engage in unlawful activity, including but not limited to vandalism, assault, and harassment, by zealously prosecuting such crimes and enforcing relevant campus policies. Inform UC administrators that they must fully cooperate and assist with any investigation of hate crimes that occur on their campus. Remind universities that they also must comply with applicable requirements regarding reporting and timely warning under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act).


5.     Instruct UC schools to enforce student codes of conduct and university policies, independent of and in addition to assisting law enforcement in investigating reports of criminal activity. This includes implementing and/or enforcing time, place, and manner restrictions on demonstrations held on university property, and investigating and penalizing students and student organizations potentially in violation of campus codes of conduct or other applicable policies and penalizing them when appropriate.


6.     Issue clear guidelines on university policies to curb unlawful campus protests and specifically emphasize that there is no tolerance for language that incites violence, intimidates, or is reasonably perceived as threatening others. As Virginia’s Attorney General noted, the First Amendment does not protect speech that is directed to or likely to incite or produce imminent lawless action. 


7.     Aid universities in the proper identification of antisemitism by directing UC schools to become educated about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which has already been formally adopted by 31 states, including the District of Columbia, and which is used by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in the investigation of complaints of antisemitic discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. IHRA is a critical tool in investigating complaints of campus antisemitic discrimination and harassment.


8.     Remind UC administrators of their First Amendment right to speak out against the scourge of antisemitism and their obligation to do so on equal terms as they do for other instances of bigotry. Also remind administrators of their moral duty to oppose bigotry and to support students of all ethnic backgrounds, including Jewish and Israeli students. This includes apprising Jewish and Israeli students of their rights and informing them about mechanisms to report discrimination and harassment, as well as ensuring that they have ready access to sufficient security and counseling services.

We further note that several state governors, including New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul and Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin, have already established initiatives to combat antisemitism in their states’ school systems. Specifically:

1.     We urge you to follow New York’s lead in informing state universities that their failure to address antisemitic activity on campus could be deemed a violation of the state’s human rights law and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides that any recipient of federal funds is responsible for keeping students free from a hostile environment based upon national origin, which includes ethnicity and shared ancestry.  


2.     We also urge you to follow the lead of Virginia’s Attorney General, who created a special task force to address this urgent problem with the specific, concrete objectives of educating, monitoring, information-gathering, and coordination with law enforcement.

With the start of the new semester, it is our hope that you will take this opportunity to demonstrate leadership and moral clarity, and to convey that indifference to antisemitic bigotry has no place in our state, including on college and university campuses. To that end, we ask that you include specific guidance and instruction to UC leadership on how to address campus antisemitism as an agenda item at your upcoming March 19-21, 2024, UC Regents meeting. 

As an education organization dedicated to combating antisemitism and a California-based law firm concerned about issues of critical importance to the State of California, if we can be of assistance in any of these matters, by providing education or other help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter and we look forward to receiving a response from you by March 8, 2024, at


Roz Rothstein                                                   Julie R.F. Gerchik

CEO and Co-founder                                      Partner

StandWithUs                                                    Glaser Weil Fink Howard Jordan & Shapiro LLP 


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