Plaintiff claims were dismissed. The District Court said publicly expressed "political speech and expressive conduct" are constitutionally protected.
Dissatisfied, attorneys filed an OCR Complaint. Jewish student discriminatory harassment is reflected in activities like annual "Apartheid Week," they claimed.
Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Association organize mock checkpoints. They're erected to simulate occupation harshness.
The ACLU letter added:
"The allegations of this Title VI complaint reflect either a profound misunderstanding of the First Amendment, or an attempt to persuade the government to use its power to restrict speech based on its content and political viewpoint."
Title VI is codified in the 1964 Civil rights act. It assures nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs. Section 601 states:
"No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
In October, the Department of Education began investigating plaintiffs' complaint. It stressed that doing so "in no way implies that (it) made a determination with regard to its merits."
ACLU's main concern is for First Amendment rights. Compromising them would have a chilling effect on campus activism nationwide. Free expression would be threatened.
ACLU Northern California Legal Director Alan L. Schlosser wrote the letter. He said campus activism "convey(s) a political viewpoint about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza - that it is discriminatory against Palestinians, and that it is unjust, coercive, (and) oppressive."
Whatever views Felber and Maissy hold, First Amendment rights are inviolable.
"Speech that criticizes the State of Israel and its policies and actions, or even questions its right to exist as a Jewish State in the region, cannot constitute the basis for government restriction or regulation."
"Speech on public issues occupies the highest rung on the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection."
"The First Amendment protects speech, no matter now offensive or disturbing it is to some people."
"In fact, First Amendment protections are most important when speakers take controversial or unpopular positions that might arouse strong feelings, passions, and hostility."
"There are no sacred cows when it comes to the First Amendment's protection for political messages or viewpoints."