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26 On Leaving the University of California, Los Angeles, Due to Hostile and Unsafe Campus Climate Milan Chatterjee As the graduate student body president at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), law student Milan Chatterjee saw the divisiveness of BDS campaigns elsewhere and wanted to spare the graduate student government from wasting hours over matters not directly relevant to campus life. His efforts to keep his administration neutral on BDS, neither endorsing nor rejecting it, were rewarded with a public smear campaign by anti-Israel activists and their own efforts to remove him from his elected position. UCLA administrators not only failed to defend him from that dishonest campaign but ultimately enabled and supported it. Chatterjee was forced to obtain legal representation and, after months of harassment, chose to leave the school. The Chatterjee case testifies that even those who try to stay above the fray are bullied by anti-Israel activists and sharply exposes the failures of administrators to ensure a safe campus climate for all. August 24, 2016 VIA E-MAIL AND FEDEX Chancellor Gene Block University of California, Los Angeles Chancellor’s Office Box 951405, 2147 Murphy Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405 RE: Leaving UCLA Due to Hostile and Unsafe Campus Climate Dear Chancellor Block, I write to inform you that I have decided to complete the final year of my UCLA School of Law program at a different institution. The hostile and unsafe 364 | Milan Chatterjee campus environment I am facing at UCLA has left me with no choice but to move away from this university at great additional expense to me and my family. Since November 2015, I have been relentlessly attacked, bullied, and harassed by BDS-affiliated organizations and students. The smear and harassment campaign started with the false accusation that I (an Indian-American Hindu) was not “viewpoint neutral” when allocating funds, in my capacity as Graduate Student Body President, to a diversity event. What really occurred is that my administration and I abstained from supporting either a pro- or anti-BDS agenda. This condition was explicitly approved by a UCLA administrator. The event took place on November 5, 2015 and a variety of campus viewpoints were actively represented, including both sides of the issues raised by the BDS movement. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky—one of America’s leading constitutional law scholars—and four legal organizations concluded that my administration and I acted in a viewpoint-neutral manner. Subsequently, BDS activists wrote defamatory articles about me and led a grassroots campaign against me on the UCLA campus. They even tried, on multiple occasions, to remove me as Graduate Student Body President. I reached out to senior members of your administration—many times—for guidance and support to defuse this situation. Furthermore, I believed that these administrators would be especially sensitive given the public outcry caused by similar BDS-led efforts against UCLA students Rachel Beyda, Avi Oved, Lauren Rogers, and Sunny Singh. I could not have been more mistaken. Your administrators were non-responsive and unhelpful. In fact, when Palestine Legal and the ACLU circulated a legal letter defaming me on the internet, had their attorneys write a libelous article about me in the Daily Bruin, and sent lawyers to Graduate Student Association meetings to attack me personally, I contacted the Interim Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs many times for help. Not only did she decline to provide me with the necessary legal support, but she told me that I needed to get my own attorney. Finally, I was connected to the American Jewish Committee, who found the situation serious enough to refer me to pro-bono counsel. In late February 2016, my new attorney, Peter M. Weil, of Glaser Weil LLP, sent you and several senior members of your administration a lengthy letter detailing the constant bullying, harassment, and attacks to which I was being subjected. Your administration chose to not take any action or even investigate this matter. To make matters worse, at the behest of pro-BDS organizations, the Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) launched a three-monthlong investigation of me. His office wrote a defamatory, 27-page report which has been heavily condemned by seven major organizations. In reality, this report was an attempt by your administration to publicly scapegoat me for their systematic failure to adopt and implement University of California policies, and provide the necessary guidance to me and other On Leaving the University of California...


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