Press Release

UCLA defends facilitating antisemitic encampments on campus University stands by decision allowing activists to bar Jewish students from heart of campus

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

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

WASHINGTON The University of California, Los Angeles, has defended its actions allowing and assisting antisemitic encampments that bar Jewish students from accessing the heart of campus. In Frankel v. Regents of the University of California, Becket and Clement & Murphy PLLC filed a lawsuit against UCLA after it helped a group of activists as they set up an encampment where they harassed Jewish students and stopped them from accessing classes, the library, and other critical parts of campus. UCLA reinforced these zones—both by providing metal barriers and by sending away Jewish students—while taking no effective action to ensure safe passage for Jewish students. UCLA’s policies harm Jewish students and violate numerous provisions of the U.S. and California Constitutions and multiple civil rights laws.   

On June 24, three current UCLA students asked the court to put an immediate stop to these blatantly discriminatory actions so that they could return to class free from fear that they would be harassed and excluded simply for being Jewish. But in response to their request, UCLA disavowed any obligation to protect its Jewish students because, according to UCLA, the university doesn’t share a “special relationship” with them and refused to even acknowledge that these encampments and checkpoints were antisemitic. Worse yet, UCLA blamed everyone but itself for the rampant antisemitism that took place on its own campus. It blamed the police for the delayed response of “several days.” It blamed the victimized Jewish students for being in the “vicinity” of an encampment that was blocking their access to critical campus facilities. And, for everything else, it blamed the “unidentified activists.”  

“In the end, UCLA has nobody to blame but itself for the harassment, assault, and segregation of Jewish students on its campus,” said Mark Rienzi, president of Becket and an attorney for the students. “Now the university is scrambling to defend its actions and cover up its gross failure of leadership. It won’t work—UCLA will answer in court for the rampant antisemitism it allows and assists.” 

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 disrupted 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. These occupations continued after the initial encampment was dismantled, with activists repeatedly blockading campus buildings throughout May and June.  

“No student in America should have to worry that they will be segregated from their peers and targeted for their faith,” said Rienzi. “And no school in America should get away with blaming the victims. The court must hold the university accountable for its reprehensible actions and protect Jewish students before the fall semester begins.” 

A hearing in the case is scheduled for July 29, 2024. 

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