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Gaza protest fallout: Congress launches probe of UCLA after violence on campus

May 17

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After violent clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israeli counter-protesters, some in U.S. Congress demanded that the University of California, Los Angeles turn over documents regarding its response. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce opened an investigation into the handing of pro-Palestinian encampments on campus.

In a letter to the school on Wednesday, May 15, some Republicans called UCLA’s actions regarding the protests an “inadequate response to antisemitism.”

The committee gave the institution until next Tuesday, May 21, to turn over the records.

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Police arrested around 200 people in the aftermath of the protests at UCLA. Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating why it took police more than three hours to quell the chaos. Some lawmakers want to know why, too.

The chair of the House Committee, Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., criticized the institution’s alleged failure to have police ready before pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment. She also noted university police did not ask for help from outside agencies, like the Los Angeles Police Department, until well after the fights began.

Foxx said she wants school leaders to release all security videos, communications and documents related to the antisemitic incidents since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

“Jewish students were attacked, harassed, and intimidated for walking on their own campus,” Foxx said.

Foxx cited several alleged incidents, including an instance where a pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly kicked a Jewish woman in the head.

The committee also wants to see disciplinary records for “alleged antisemitic incidents” at the university since Oct. 7.

“A third of all Jewish students at UCLA reported being blamed for the actions of the Israeli government because of their Jewish identity either frequently or occasionally,” said a 2015 study that Foxx cited in her letter.

The vice chancellor of strategic communications at UCLA said in a statement that the school received the letter from Congress and is reviewing it.

As Congress launches its investigation, police continue a criminal investigation into the assaults during the protests on Tuesday, April 30. CNN reported that the identities of the most aggressive counter- protesters are largely unknown.

Pro-Israel counter-protesters allegedly used everything from metal poles to brooms in order to attack pro-Palestinian activists. As the pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked encampments, police officers reportedly stood by.

Law enforcement did not document any injuries from the fights. However, campus organizers reported more than 150 students were assaulted, including some who were sprayed with pepper spray and bear mace. Organizers also said that at least 25 protesters were taken to the hospital with injuries including fractures, severe cuts and more. Some pro-Palestinian student protesters also said counter-protesters made violent threats toward them.

The next day, Hillel, a Jewish organization on campus, denounced “fringe members of the off-campus Jewish community,” maintaining they do not “represent the estimated 3,000 Jewish Bruins at UCLA.”

Multiple parties blamed outside agitators for violence on both sides. Police also acknowledged many of those arrested were from outside the UCLA community.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

VIOLENT CLASHES BETWEEN PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS AND PRO-ISRAELI COUNTERPROTESTERS ERUPTED ON THE CAMPUS OF  U-C-L-A APRIL 30TH. THE RIOTS RESULTED IN MULTIPLE INJURIES AND HUNDREDS OF ARRESTS. 

NOW CONGRESS IS GETTING INVOLVED.

THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IS PROBING THE SCHOOL’S HANDLING OF PRO-PALESTINIAN ENCAMPMENTS AND THE FALLOUT

IN A LETTER TO THE SCHOOL WEDNESDAY, COMMITTEE REPUBLICANS DEMANDED DOCUMENTS, VIDEOS, AND TEXTS REGARDING WHAT THEY CALLED AN “INADEQUATE RESPONSE TO ANTI SEMITISM.”

GIVING THE UNIVERSITY UNTIL MAY 21ST TO TURNOVER THE RECORDS.

COMMITTEE CHAIR VIRGINIA FOXX TOLD SCHOOL LEADERS TO RELEASE ALL SECURITY VIDEOS, COMMUNICATIONS AND DOCUMENTS RELATED TO ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS AND ANY DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS FOR THOSE INCIDENTS SINCE THE START OF THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR ON OCTOBER 7TH. SHE CLAIMS, “JEWISH STUDENTS WERE ATTACKED, HARASSED AND INTIMIDATED FOR WALKING ON THEIR OWN CAMPUS,” CITING ONE INCIDENT WHERE A JEWISH WOMAN WAS REPORTEDLY KICKED IN THE HEAD BY PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS.

THE COMMITTEE ALSO WANTS TO KNOW WHY THE ENCAMPMENT REMAINED ON CAMPUS FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE POLICE TOOK IT APART AND ARRESTED 200 PEOPLE. THE PROBE ALSO DEMANDS U-C-L-A- TURN OVER ALL RECORDINGS, INCLUDING SECURITY VIDEO AND FROM POLICE BODY CAM RECORDINGS OF THE ENCAMPMENT, SINCE APRIL 24TH.

THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION AT U-C-L-A SAID THE SCHOOL HAS RECEIVED THE LETTER AND IS REVIEWING IT. 

THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ALSO WANTS TO KNOW WHY IT TOOK POLICE MORE THAN THREE HOURS TO QUELL THE CHAOS– SOMETHING MULTIPLE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE ALREADY INVESTIGATING. FOXX CITES REPORTS SHOWING CAMPUS POLICE WAITED UNTIL WELL AFTER THE VIOLENCE BEGAN TO CALL IN OUTSIDE HELP.

AS CONGRESS LAUNCHES ITS INVESTIGATION, A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ASSAULTS DURING THE COUNTER PROTESTS IS UNDERWAY, WITH THE IDENTITIES OF THE MOST AGGRESSIVE COUNTERPROTESTERS LARGELY UNKNOWN. 

PRO-ISRAEL COUNTERPROTESTERS USED BROOMS AND METAL POLES TO ATTACK THE BARRIERS SET UP BY PRO-PALESTINIAN ACTIVISTS.

AS ENCAMPMENTS WERE ATTACKED POLICE OFFICERS REPORTEDLY STOOD BY.

LAW ENFORCEMENT DID NOT DOCUMENT INJURIES FROM THE FIGHTS.

BUT CAMPUS ORGANIZERS CLAIM MORE THAN 150 STUDENTS WERE ASSAULTED.

ORGANIZERS ALSO SAY AT LEAST 25 PROTESTERS WERE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL WITH INJURIES INCLUDING FRACTURES, SEVERE CUTS AND MORE. 

A JEWISH ORGANIZATION ON CAMPUS DENOUNCED “FRINGE MEMBERS OF THE OFF-CAMPUS JEWISH COMMUNITY” MAINTAINING THEY DO NOT “REPRESENT THE ESTIMATED THREE-THOUSAND JEWISH BRUINS AT U-C-L-A.

OUTSIDE AGITATORS HAVE BEEN BLAMED FOR VIOLENCE ON BOTH SIDES– WITH POLICE ACKNOWLEDGING MANY OF THOSE ARRESTED WERE FROM OUTSIDE THE U-C-L-A COMMUNITY.

FOR MORE STORIES ON CAMPUS PROTESTS OVER THE GAZA WAR–

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