Press Release

Jewish students seek court order against UCLA’s antisemitic encampments before fall semester

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Photo of UCLA's Royce Hall, with pitched tents on the lawn

WASHINGTON On behalf of three Jewish students, Becket attorneys asked a federal court late yesterday to order UCLA to obey the Constitution and federal civil rights laws by August 15 before they arrive on campus for the fall semester. In Frankel v. Regents of the University of California, UCLA allowed a group of extremist students and outside agitators to set up an encampment where they stopped Jewish students from accessing classes, the library, and other critical parts of campus. UCLA allowed and reinforced these zones, breaking the law and hurting its Jewish students. With the help of Becket, two law students and an undergraduate are asking a federal court to prevent UCLA from ever allowing such exclusion of Jewish students again.  

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, anti-Jewish demonstrations emerged on college campuses nationwide. UCLA allowed activists to set up an encampment that enforced a “Jew Exclusion Zone,” stopping Jewish students from accessing the encampment and other parts of campus unless they agreed to disavow Israel’s right to exist. The activists used checkpoints, issued wristbands, built barriers, and often locked arms to prevent Jews from passing through. For a week, UCLA’s administration was aware of these practices and chose to let them persist. In fact, rather than clearing the encampment, UCLA instructed security staff to discourage unapproved students from attempting to cross through the areas blocked by the activists.   

“No student should have to fear for their safety or pass a religious test to walk freely at a public university,” said Mark Rienzi, president of Becket and an attorney for the students. “UCLA’s behavior on this issue has been shameful, and the students need a court order to allow them to return to campus safely this fall.” 

Activists within the encampment viciously targeted Jewish students. Yitzchok Frankel, a law student and father of four, faced antisemitic harassment simply for wearing a kippah and was forced to abandon his regular routes through campus because of the Jew Exclusion Zone. Joshua Ghayoum, a sophomore and history major, was repeatedly blocked from accessing the library and other public spaces. He also heard chants at the encampment like “death to Jews.” Eden Shemuelian, another law student, had her final exam studies severely compromised when she was forced to walk around the encampment and immerse herself in its antisemitic chants and signs to access the law school’s library. Those same groups of activists have continued attempts to occupy and barricade parts of campus. The students are asking the court to ensure that Jews will never again face such antisemitic bigotry at UCLA.   

“It’s appalling that an elite American university would actively support and encourage masked mobs of antisemites,” said Rienzi. “UCLA’s Jewish community needs to know that they’ll be safe on campus before the start of the fall semester.”  

In addition to Becket, the students are represented by Clement & Murphy, PLLC.  

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at  or 202-349-7219.