UC Berkeley Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Confrontation Between Professor And Pro-Palestinian Student

UC Berkeley Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Confrontation Between Professor And Pro-Palestinian Student
Image: U.C. Berkeley

By Kate Anderson

The University of California Berkeley opened an investigation into a law professor after a video spread online of her stopping a pro-Palestinian student from speaking about the war in Gaza during a private event at the professor’s home, according to NBC News.

Catherine Fisk, a professor of civil rights law at UC Berkeley School of Law, and her husband were hosting a private event in their backyard on April 9 when law student Malak Afaneh got up and began speaking into a microphone about the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and the war in Gaza, according to NBC News. The video shows Fisk grabbing the microphone and wrapping her arm around Afaneh while telling her to leave which prompted the university to look into the matter after Afaneh complained that she was being discriminated against. (RELATED: UCLA Canceled Requests For Extra Police Days Before Violent Clash Between Protesters)

“It was reported that on April 9, 2024, during a dinner for UC Berkeley Law School students, held at Respondent’s off-campus residence, Respondent physically grabbed you, attempted to forcibly take your cell phone and microphone from your hand, and asked you to leave a University event when you began to speak in support of Palestine and about Ramadan,” the university’s Office of Civil Rights wrote in a document to Afaneh confirming the investigation, according to NBC News.

Afeneh claimed that the situation was an example of “clear Islamophobia,” claiming that Fisk had attempted to remove her for her pro-Palestinian beliefs, according to NBC News. After the incident, however, another video showed Fisk telling Afaneh “We agree with you about what’s going on in Palestine.” Some legal scholars have said that Fisk had the right to use reasonable force to remove Afeneh, who reportedly had been speaking for several minutes and had ignored 20 or 30 requests to leave.

Erwin Chemerinsky, Fisk’s husband who is also Jewish, called the incident ” ugly and divisive,” according to NBC News.

Afeneh is also one of the top leaders of the encampment at the university in protest of the school’s ties to Israel, according to NBC News. Afeneh told Dylan Bouscher, a reporter for Reuters, that the protesters were demanding that the school “end their silence” and call for an end to “Israel’s genocidal campaign,” and financially divest from businesses that are tied to Israel, according to a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Protests have been erupting all over the country and some schools have arrested students to try and break up encampments that have occupied campuses for weeks.

UC Berkeley and Fisk did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


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