Campus statement on the Ethnic Studies 98/198 Fall 2016 DeCal course

The UC Berkeley administration issued the following statement regarding the Ethnic Studies 98/198 DeCal course:

It has been determined that policies and procedures governing the review and approval of proposed courses for the DeCal program were not complied with in the case of the Fall 2016 course, "Ethnic Studies 98/198: Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis." As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards. For that reason, the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences has suspended approval for the course pending completion of the mandated review and approval process.

It should also be noted that the Dean is very concerned about a course, even a student-run course, which espouses a single political viewpoint and/or appears to offer a forum for political organizing rather than an opportunity for the kind of open academic inquiry that Berkeley is known for.

Campus leadership remains committed to fostering and sustaining a campus climate where every individual feels safe, welcome and respected. In a recent survey, 75% of our Jewish students reported feeling comfortable on this campus—a number that is identical to the campus average and two points higher than comfort levels reported by students with a Christian affiliation. However, we believe we can do better still, not just for Jewish students, but for all of our students. That is but one of the reasons we recently took the unprecedented step of forming the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Jewish Student Life and Campus Climate, a group that includes students, faculty, staff and leading members of the Bay Area’s Jewish community who are joining us in this important effort.

Berkeley also takes great pride in our new kosher dining facility; vibrant Hillel chapter; the broad range of other Jewish student groups; the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies; The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life; and our Center for Jewish Studies.

UC Berkeley will continue to confront intolerance and bias, and fully supports the Regents’ recently issued Principles Against Intolerance.