The University of California (UC) has announced it is investing $7 million to combat acts of bigotry, intolerance, and intimidation, particularly Islamophobia and antisemitism, that have occurred on its campuses in recent weeks.
The funding will support three initiatives: $3 million for emergency mental health services for students and staff, $2 million for educational programs on antisemitism and Islamophobia, and $2 million for training campus leadership, staff, and faculty on how to address these issues.
“The war in Israel and Gaza presents a complex set of intersecting issues that require multiple solutions on multiple fronts. Today we are doubling down on who we are: an educational institution that’s guided by facts and data, but also a moral compass that helps us find our way to compassion and understanding in difficult moments,” UC President Michael Drake stated during a recent board of regents meeting.
Drake also stated that he has tasked UC’s director of community safety to collaborate with campus leaders to ensure effective responses to violence-related incidents.
Additionally, the university is launching a new systemwide Office of Civil Rights in spring 2024. This office will feature dedicated personnel specializing in preventing sexual violence and will establish two new departments, one focused on tackling discrimination issues, and the other committed to upholding the rights of students with disabilities.
The news comes after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter earlier this month to university leaders expressing his concern over the rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic discrimination on college campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.
“Student organizations, including Hillels and student groups in support of Palestinians, are fearful of becoming targets of hate and violence — affinity spaces should be connected to campus safety and mental health resources,” Newsom wrote. “Furthermore, campuses are rightly places for critical analysis and open discourse — every opportunity to model productive dialogue and common understanding should be taken.”