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UC Irvine Jewish Student Gets Big Win as Civil Rights Lawsuit Looms

By Peter Cordi | Washington Examiner | June 15, 2024

EXCLUSIVE — A University of California, Irvine Jewish student will be allowed to graduate after the school initially withheld his diploma following a run-in with an antisemitic poster on campus.

The Washington Examiner reported on Thursday that Alex Minn was punished with a required 1,250-word essay in which he had to admit to and apologize for conduct he denies, on top of being sanctioned for claims of theft or damage to university or student property and failure to comply. On Friday, the school dropped Minn’s essay requirement and reduced his sanction to a warning. 

“We were pleased to learn that after publication of the Examiner’s article, UCI significantly reduced the sanction against Mr. Minn to a written warning,” John Vaughan, StandWithUs senior counsel, told the Washington Examiner. “Although we disagree with UCI’s analysis that a warning is merited under these circumstances, we are pleased that Mr. Minn is no longer facing the specter of having his diploma withheld” by the school.

According to the school’s final decision, obtained by the Washington Examiner, the 1,250-word reflection paper was removed because Dean of Students Rameen Talesh does not “view it as having an educational purpose at this stage.” Talesh denies that the paper violated Minn’s rights.

Minn was initially issued this punishment on May 21, two weeks after he “swatted” at a poster near his head that contained an antisemitic caricature and inscription up against UC Irvine’s anti-Israel encampment. He called his encounter with the poster “traumatic” as a Jewish student.

The school declined to comment on the matter.

Title VI civil rights lawsuit decision looms

With Minn still receiving a sanction for his conduct, he and his representation have a big decision to make on whether or not to pursue a Title VI civil rights lawsuit. Vaughan previously said if Minn’s record was not expunged, that would “absolutely” merit a civil rights lawsuit.

Minn is particularly concerned about how the school’s written warning may affect his ability to pass the bar exam, as applicants in California must disclose if they have received any discipline, including a warning, for violating the school’s code of conduct.

“This has been a traumatizing and egregious offense of my civil rights,” Minn told the Washington Examiner. “I continue to be targeted and persecuted by the University of California, Irvine simply for being a Jewish student and believing in the state of Israel’s right to exist.”

“I will take the weekend to spend time with my family and consider advice from counselors as we review all options,” he continued.

Title VI civil rights lawsuits alleging antisemitism on campus have sparked over 100 civil rights investigations into universities and school districts nationwide since Oct. 7, 2023. California has the most of any state, with 25. The University of California system alone has eight of those investigations, which is as many as the entire state of Pennsylvania.

The ‘double standard’ at the heart of Minn’s case

Minn and Vaughan argue the school’s code of conduct has been enforced unfairly, presenting a “double standard,” as the school came down on Minn for “swatting” at an “antisemitic” poster near his head and initially failing to identify himself despite apologizing and revealed his information upon being presented the school’s policy stating he needed to identify himself.

Meanwhile, they argue, UC Irvine anti-Israel protesters built an encampment in violation of the school’s conduct policy that displayed posters ostensibly violating school conduct policy, among other potential violations. Minn decried “the fact that they witnessed several violations of student conduct, and they choose not to report that” in favor of filing a report on his conduct.

The poster in question contained a hand-drawn caricature of a “hook-nose Jew” wearing a shtreimel and payos, holding a bloody knife over the Palestinian flag with blood flowing from the Israeli flag to the Palestinian flag, and displaying the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Vaughan additionally pointed out a “double standard” in that Minn had to present his ID but encampment protesters were allowed to hide in tents and mask their faces for weeks on campus.


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