No surprise here. Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley, have filed a lawsuit (h/t) claiming that university officials have failed to protect Jewish students from harassment and intimidation by anti-Israeli groups:
A pattern of harassment and physical assaults by members of two Muslim student groups at the University of California, Berkeley crosses the line from allowing free speech into creating a hostile campus environment, an attorney representing two students argued in court papers filed this week.
Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy are suing the University of California and Berkeley President Mark Yudoff, along with Berkeley’s chancellor, the Regents of the University of California, the Associated Students University of California and Berkeley’s dean of students for failing to protect them from verbal and physical assaults.
The university is seeking to have the case dismissed on the ground that the anti-Israeli students have a right to voice their opinions and that the University cannot interfere. But the lawsuit makes clear that opinions are not the problem:
Students at the checkpoints [set up as mock Israeli checkpoints] carry “realistic looking assault weapons—’imitation firearms’—as part of the event,” Siegal wrote, citing a California statute prohibiting such reenactments unless they are authorized by the school.
Declarations by Felber, Maissy, and Berkeley Professor Mel Gordon detail examples of incidents that they felt crossed the line into intimidation and harassment. Each complains that school officials failed to discipline the people involved.
Felber, who graduated in December, said she was physically assaulted on campus by an SJP member in March 2010. Hussam Zakharia, then leader of SJP, rammed a shopping cart into her back during simultaneous “Israel Apartheid Week” and “Israel Peace and Diversity Week” events.
She was treated for her injuries and later received therapy as a result of the incident. After that, Felber said, she was so intimidated that she was afraid to leave home without an escort.
The problems at U.C. Berkeley mirror problems elsewhere in the U.C. system, particularly at U.C. Irvine.