Dozens of religious and educational organizations are urging the University of California to reject a proposed ethnic studies admission requirement in light of an influential faculty council’s defense of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.
“The ethnic studies faculty at the University of California have essentially taken off their mask and shown themselves to be completely sympathetic to the anti-Zionist, pro-Hamas cause,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, which tracks antisemitism at universities.
The controversy is twofold, centering on the state’s high school ethnic studies mandate and a separate proposal to make completion of an ethnic studies course a requirement for admission to the University of California. The latter faces renewed opposition after one of the key groups advocating for the requirement penned a letter demanding UC administrators stop referring to Hamas’ attack on Israel as “terrorism.”
“Through ethnic studies, what we’re seeing is the institutionalization of antisemitism,” said Brandy Shufutinsky of the Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies, which opposes narrow and “radical” ideological agendas in education.
In 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill making California the first state to require all students to complete an ethnic studies course in order to graduate.