UCI has become nationally known as a hotbed of Jewish/Muslim tensions, going back to June 2004, when several Muslim and Arab students chose to wear graduation stoles with Arabic script on them that allegedly expressed support for Hamas.
The complaint to OCR alleged that the university downplayed the anti-Semitism of the stoles, but according to the report, the university contacted 17 translators who agreed that the script carried no message of hate or terrorism.
“I do not believe anyone was ever in danger on our campus, and I am not aware of a single instance in which any individual was prevented from conducting their business,” Gomez said. “There hasn’t been any violence, and no one’s safety has been threatened.”
UCI alumnus Reut Cohen, who wrote extensively about Israeli issues for the New University while a student, wrote on her blog that “this recent development sends a clear message that intimidation/harassment of Jewish students and non-Jewish students who stand in solidarity with Israel (or America) will be tolerated.”
By contrast, the Council on American-Islamic Relations was more supportive. Los Angeles Executive Director of CAIR Hussam Ayloush applauded the report.
“We welcome the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation, which affirmed that UCI is a diverse and open campus that treats all students equally,” Ayloush said. “We commend the UCI administrators, in particular Chancellor Dr. Michael V. Drake, for creating an environment supportive of free speech and respect for all students at UCI.”