Feds Probe Chapman University for 'Unchecked Anti-Semitism on Campus'

Jewish students say they were subjected to violent threats and 'anti-Semitic incidents' by members of Students for Justice in Palestine

(@sjpchapman Instagram)
June 17, 2024

The federal government has opened a formal investigation into allegations that Chapman University, a California-based private school, permitted "unchecked anti-Semitism on campus" that included death threats to Jewish students such as "F*** yeah I want you and all Zionist trash bags dead."

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law confirmed the Education Department's investigation to the Washington Free Beacon early Monday. The center petitioned the federal government to launch a probe on behalf of several Jewish students who say they were subjected to violent threats and "anti-Semitic incidents" by members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the campus group behind pro-Hamas protests on college campuses across the country. Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 terror attacks are suing SJP and its parent group, American Muslims for Palestine, for allegedly serving "as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas."

After Hamas's attack on Israel, members of Chapman's SJP branch allegedly tried to remove "a Jewish student from the group because of his shared Jewish ancestry" and made "heinous death threats against a different Jewish student," according to a press release and Education Department complaint reviewed by the Free Beacon.

Chapman is the latest school to face a federal investigation over allegations that its leadership permitted Jew-hatred to simmer unchecked on campus as anti-Semitic protesters rallied against Israel and its war against Hamas. Anti-Semitism is soaring across America as Israel's war continues, with U.S. college campuses serving as ground zero for Jew-hatred. The Education Department is investigating a number of schools for failing to adequately protect Jewish students and police Jew-hatred on campus.

In one case outlined in the complaint, a Jewish student "was subjected to a death threat as well as other unlawful harassment on the basis of her Jewish identity" by members of Chapman's SJP chapter. The female student was "threatened … because she is a Zionist."

In social media postings documented in the complaint, an SJP student wrote, "Death to all Israelis who follow Zionism."

When a Jewish student responded to the post, asking if this SJP member wanted her dead, the original poster replied: "F*** yeah I want you and all Zionist trash bags dead the f*** kinda question is that?"

University administrators were informed of the incident but "failed to take effective steps to ensure [the student's] safety on campus, allowing the perpetrator to live on and move freely about the campus."

Several other Jewish students named in the complaint say they were "unlawfully excluded" from Chapman's SJP chapter "on the basis of Jewish shared ancestral and ethnic identity."

SJP "subjects Jewish students and those it believes may be Jewish to a litmus test," the complaint alleges: "It denies access to club membership and events if the student does not deny his or her support for the Jewish State of Israel, which is an integral component of Jewish identity for many Jewish students."

The group does not apply the standard "to students it does not perceive to be Jewish," such as those "who have surnames that do not 'sound Jewish.'"

When one of the students named in the complaint attempted to attend an SJP event on campus, he was denied access. "A university administrator, who was present and aware of the discriminatory exclusion, affirmed" the organization's decision "to deny [the student's] admission," the complaint alleges.

The Brandeis Center says Chapman University violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which affords protection to minority populations, including Jews.

"These incidents," the complaint alleges, "demonstrate that Chapman is failing to protect Jewish students and is denying them equal access to educational opportunities on the basis of their actual or perceived shared ancestry and ethnicity."

Kenneth Marcus, the Brandeis Center's chairman, said that Chapman's leadership, like administrations in many other universities across the country, is "refusing to do what's needed to address these civil rights violations."

"It is imperative that federal officials enforce the law," Marcus said in a statement. "It is about time that the federal government is finally investigating Students for Justice in Palestine's discriminatory activities."