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Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur Requests Federal Civil Rights Investigation of UCLA

For immediate release:

Zbur, Who Represents UCLA, Urges U.S. Department of Education to Review Potential Title VI Civil Rights Violations, Calls on UC Regents To Conduct Independent Investigation of Security Failures After Tuesday Night Attack

SACRAMENTO, CA — Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) sent a formal letter to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights this week requesting an immediate investigation into potential violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and swift action to prevent any further violations of students' civil rights. Specifically, Zbur cited incidents in which demonstrators on campus have engaged in discriminatory harassment of Jewish and Israeli-American students and denied students equal access to campus facilities based on their actual or perceived race or national origin.

Assemblymember Zbur also urges the UC Board of Regents to initiate an independent investigation into the University's failure to provide adequate security to protect students' safety, including the delayed law enforcement response to a violent attack Tuesday night against the students participating in the encampment, the failure to provide adequate security at a permitted on-campus event on Sunday, at which anti-Israel protesters impeded access to the site and participation in the event, and the repeated failure of security to intervene in cases of harassment, intimidation, and assault of Jewish students.

"I am alarmed and extraordinarily disappointed that the University allowed the situation to deteriorate with seemingly little regard for Jewish and Israeli-American students' personal safety and their civil rights as enrolled students," wrote Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. "These incidents are well-documented, and UCLA's administration has acknowledged their awareness of the incidents. Still, they have refused to take sufficient action to protect students' civil rights under Title VI. Following numerous failures to protect its Jewish and Israeli-American students, the University subsequently failed to protect students in the encampment from an attack on Tuesday night."

"On all accounts, UCLA has failed to uphold its most important responsibility, which is to protect the safety, well-being, and civil rights of all of its students. Freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully protest are fundamental pillars of our democracy — but violence, harassment, and intimidation are not speech and have no place on campus or anywhere. I urge the U.S. Department of Education and the UC Regents to conduct investigations into the University's failure and hold those responsible accountable. This can never be allowed to happen again," added Zbur.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title VI in public and federally funded schools at all educational levels, including public universities like UCLA. Title VI protects all students, including Jewish students, from discrimination based on race and national origin (including actual or perceived "shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics" and "citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity"). Schools must take immediate and appropriate action to respond to complaints of discrimination, including harassment, intimidation, or denial of equal access to education based on race, color, or national origin.

In the letter, Assemblymember Zbur reaffirmed his commitment to supporting the First Amendment rights of all students to exercise free speech, to peacefully assemble, and to protest. The letter also identifies mounting evidence of potential violations of Jewish students' civil rights, including but not limited to:

  • Demonstrators at UCLA maintaining checkpoints throughout campus with signs such as "Zionists not welcome;" and
  • A Jewish student refused access to the main entrance of Powell Library because he self-identified as a Zionist; and
  • A Jewish student assaulted by more than a dozen demonstrators, with no intervention from UCLA's private security present during the assault. 

Click here to view the Assemblymember's full letter.

Click here to learn more about Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Rick Chavez Zbur.

Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair for the California State Assembly and represents the 51st Assembly District, including Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica, and portions of Los Angeles.

CONTACT: Vienna Montague, (916) 319-2051,