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UC Berkeley Seeks Dismissal of Antisemitism Lawsuit for Second Time
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Introduction

The University of California at Berkeley has once again requested a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging campus antisemitism. In a filing made on Monday, the university argued that new claims regarding its handling of recent pro-Palestine protests are premature since these incidents are still under investigation.

Background of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit, initiated by the nonprofit Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and its affiliate Jewish American for Fairness in Education, was filed in November. The plaintiffs contend that UC Berkeley officials have ignored longstanding issues of antisemitism on campus.

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Initial Allegations and First Amendment Defense

The initial complaint focused on the law school, alleging that 23 law student groups had adopted anti-Zionism bylaws. The university defended these actions, asserting that they are protected under the First Amendment.

Expanded Claims and Recent Incidents

In an amended complaint filed in May, the plaintiffs expanded their allegations to include the university’s handling of campus protests. These incidents involved a footpath blockade by pro-Palestine students in February and the disruption of a dinner hosted by Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky in April.

University’s Motion to Dismiss

The university’s motion to dismiss, filed in San Francisco federal court, argues that the plaintiffs are attempting to shift the focus of the lawsuit from student organization bylaws to recent campus unrest. The university asserts that it can only be held liable for its response to student misconduct, not the misconduct itself and that the judicial process cannot proceed until the university’s investigations and disciplinary actions are concluded.

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Administrative Procedures and Delays

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof noted that student conduct procedures at public universities involve multiple layers of appeals and can take several months to complete. He emphasized that the university is committed to enforcing rules and imposing appropriate consequences if violations are confirmed.



Legal Representation

The Brandeis Center is represented by Kenneth Marcus and L. Rachel Lerman from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, along with Eric George and David Carroll from Ellis George LLP, and John Coghlan and Tara Helfman from Torridon Law PLLC. UC Berkeley is represented by Hailyn Chen and Bryan Heckenlively from Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.

Conclusion

The case is currently before Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California. A U.S. congressional committee has also accused major Wall Street firms of collaborating with advocacy groups to pressure companies into reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adding another layer of complexity to the unfolding legal and political landscape.

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