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StandWithUs Urges Further Action at UC Santa Barbara

StandWithUs wrote to UCSB regarding an antisemitic hate crime in a dormitory and Students for Justice in Palestine and the University’s own Multicultural Center's blatantly discriminatory, defamatory antisemitic conduct. StandWithUs reminded the University that this conduct is not protected by the First Amendment, violates UCSB’s policies, and has the potential to normalize a hostile, antisemitic environment on campus. Further action is urgently necessary. 

February 28, 2024

Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara

RE: Urgent Need to Investigate and Discipline UC Santa Barbara Multicultural Center and Students for Justice in Palestine for Discriminatory Conduct and Violations of School Policies

Dear Chancellor Yang,

We write to you from StandWithUs, an international, non-profit organization with the mission of educating about Israel and combating antisemitism. The purpose of this letter is two-fold: (1) to thank you for your prompt attention to recent antisemitic activity on your campus as expressed in your February 26, 2024, “Message to Our Campus Community”; and (2) to request additional and immediate, concrete action to redress both that activity and other antisemitic actions by students and student organizations at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Specifically, over the past several days, students affiliated with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) student group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and the University’s own Multicultural Center (MCC) engaged in egregious, discriminatory, defamatory antisemitic conduct both in the MCC itself and on social media. Such conduct is not protected by the First Amendment, violates UCSB’s policies, and has the potential to normalize a hostile, antisemitic environment on campus.

In order to protect your Jewish and Israeli students from further harm and an already escalating bigoted environment, we urge your administration to take immediate action to enforce your university’s policies, including your recently-instituted Anti-Discrimination policy, as well as compliance with hate crimes laws. Additionally we urge your administration to take all necessary steps to ensure it is in compliance with applicable state and federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Jeane Clery Campus Security Act.

A. The Multicultural Center and SJP Openly Discriminated Against Jews and Israelis.

On Monday, February 26, 2024, Jewish students attempted to enter the MCC but were told emphatically by students taking over the space that they were not welcome. Signs on the MCC door, photos of which were also posted on the MCC’s social media account (see Appendix below) clearly stated, “ZIONISTS NOT WELCOME” and “ZIONISTS ARE NOT WELCOMED! STAY AWAY FROM OUR KITCHEN TOO!”

Zionism is an expression of the Jewish people’s age-old connection and longing to be free in Israel, their ancestral homeland. For most Jews around the world, Zionism and Israel are a central part of their ethnic and religious identity. The MCC’s signs therefore constituted unlawful, discriminatory conduct against a core aspect of Jewish identity.

The clear message of these signs—that Jews are literally not physically welcome on campus, in a space of public accommodation—was also promulgated and endorsed by the MCC and SJP on their social media accounts, the latter posting “Zionists and admin are not welcome in the MCC!” We note that social media posts are subject to UCSB’s Anti-Discrimination policy, per Section III.C, and request that UCSB investigate these groups’ posts for violations of this policy.

In addition to the antisemitic signs on the doors to the MCC and on social media, additional signs were hung inside the MCC itself. One states, “JVP ✡︎ More than Welcome.” Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) refers to an openly anti-Zionist organization, and the inclusion of the Jewish Star of David tokenizes its members as “acceptable Jews” in contrast to members of the Jewish community for whom Zionism is an integral part of their identity. Another sign posted within the MCC states, “Get these Zionist [sic] out of office,” using Zionist as a code word for Jew.

Yet another sign posted on the wall in the MCC references the UCSB student body president, who happens to be Jewish, as a “Racist Zionist.” Other signs attack and defame that Jewish student leader more directly, stating that she “supports genocide” and even drawing devil horns over her name. These signs implicate several examples of contemporary antisemitism mentioned in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition—the definition utilized by the Department of Education when evaluating complaints of antisemitism under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor; targeting a Jewish student leader for the actions of the state of Israel; and invoking the symbols of classic antisemitism by literally demonizing a Jewish student with devil horns.

The signs also carry implied threats against the Jewish student body president, naming the student specifically and writing “YOU CANNOT HIDE!” and “YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE.” Such threats should not be tolerated on UCSB’s campus and should be investigated immediately for violations of UCSB’s student code of conduct.

The antisemitic discrimination and threatening behavior were not limited to these bigoted signs, however. When Jewish students attempted to enter the MCC, they were confronted by students shouting at them to leave. One student announced through a megaphone, “Don't talk to them, don't engage with Zionists, this is our place.” The SJP president announced that, “We don’t talk to Zionists.” Another student shouted at the Jewish students to “Get the F*** out!” and even invoked an age-old antisemitic stereotype about Jews using money to exert a nefarious influence by shouting, “Was that your money?” When a Jewish student tried to remove some of the antisemitic signs, she was chased around the room, and signs were posted targeting her by name and saying she “stinks” and “doesn’t get b****es” to bully her into silence.

B. UCSB’s Response, While Encouraging, Must Go Further.

We are encouraged by your February 26, 2024, message to the UCSB community referring to recent “offensive social media messages and signage at the MultiCultural Center entrance” and stating that:

Campus offices are reviewing these unauthorized and unofficial messages. The signage has been removed and campus is conducting a bias incident review based on potential discrimination related to protected categories that include religion, citizenship, and national or ethnic origin. The posting of such messages is a violation of our principles of community and inclusion.

We appreciate this prompt and unequivocal statement, which sends a strong signal that UCSB’s administration does not take such acts of antisemitism lightly. Such a message is particularly important given the current climate of antisemitism on campuses across the country.

However, we request that your administration expand its investigation to include not only the signs posted at the entrance to the MCC, but also to the signs within the MCC and to the posts by SJP and MCC on social media. We also request that your administration investigate the conduct of those SJP members and others who tried to prevent Jewish students from accessing the MCC. We request that these investigations apply both to the MCC and SJP— with swift and strong repercussions against their organizational standing—as well as to the individual students involved in these discriminatory, bigoted acts.

C. SJP’s Social Media Posts Provide Further Urgency to Discipline Them.

Individual SJP chapters exist under the aegis of the National Students for Justice in Palestine (“NSJP”), an avowed antisemitic organization with terrorist sympathies.1 NSJP described the October 7th massacre by Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization by, among others, the U.S. and the EU, as a “historic win for the Palestinian resistance” and called for “not just slogans and rallies, but armed confrontation with the oppressors.” It is in that context that UCSB’s SJP chapter’s messages, including its social media posts, should be evaluated.

First, signs posted within the MCC justifying Palestinian “resistance” are included in the background of SJP’s above-mentioned post endorsing the barring of “Zionists” from MCC. Second, SJP’s Instagram page calls for “Revolution Until Victory” in Arabic, and its recent posts falsely accuse Israel of “genocide” and call on individuals to “resist” Israel “until liberation and return” (i.e. the destruction of Israel). In at least one recent post, SJP advertised for an upcoming event at the MCC with a depiction of a Palestinian terrorist carrying an assault rifle.

We urge your administration to investigate these and other social media posts by SJP for violations of the Student Code of Conduct, which requires Registered Student Organizations to comply with campus policies and regulations or face possible “revocation of registration, loss of privileges, or other sanctions.”

D. Campus Antisemitic Hate Crime Must Be Addressed Immediately.

On February 26, 2024, a Jewish student found a message scrawled on his dormitory door stating “Zionists not welcome!!” with an arrow pointing to the mezuzah—a symbol of his Jewish faith— affixed to his doorpost (see photo in Appendix). There is no ambiguity in this identification of the student’s Jewish identity with Zionism, and this vandalism must be reported to the proper authorities as a hate crime. We understand that the student-victim has reported this to your administration already.

Furthermore, UCSB has yet to issue a Timely Warning to the community as required by the Clery Act when there is a continuing threat to the campus community. This must be done immediately because this hate crime presents a continuing threat to Jews and Israelis on campus. Such warning must be issued “as soon as pertinent information is available” even if the perpetrator and other details have not yet been identified.

Again, we call on your administration to fulfill your obligations under state and federal law, and university rules. The failure to do so will contribute to a continued hostile campus environment and marginalization of Jewish students, in possible violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In conclusion, thank you for your prompt email to the campus community on February 26, 2024. While we appreciate your swift response, there is still much work to be done to address the outrageously blatant and bigoted antisemitic conduct overtaking UCSB’s campus in the last few days. We look forward to hearing from you by March 8, 2024, outlining how you will address this climate and remedy the situation.


Roz Rothstein Yael Lerman Carly Gammill

CEO Legal Director Director of Legal Strategy StandWithUs StandWithUs StandWithUs

Gadi Dotz

Assistant Legal Director




Instagram posts by MCC and SJP promoting “Zionists are not welcome” messages:

Sign posted inside MCC demonizing Jewish student leader with devil horns, accusing her of supporting genocide, and threatening that she “can’t hide” (name blurred for privacy considerations): 

Other antisemitic and bullying signs posted within MCC: 

Other social media posts by SJP: 

Antisemitic vandalism of Jewish student’s dorm room employing MCC and SJP’s message that “Zionists [are] not welcome”: 


Israel Emergency Alliance dba. StandWithUs P.O. Box 341069 Los Angeles, CA 90034-1069  e-mail: Telephone: 310.836.6140 Fax: 310.836.6145


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