Lawsuit against UC Berkeley dismissed

A lawsuit contending that UC Berkeley and the UC system failed to mitigate a climate averse to Jewish students was dismissed this week, the campus announced Friday.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the suit, which was originally filed March 4 by UC Berkeley alumnus Jessica Felber.

Felber — who was co-president of the campus Zionist student group Tikvah while a student on campus — alleged in the suit that the campus and university tolerated the “development of a dangerous anti-Semitic climate on its campuses” and failed to adopt policies to address the alleged dangerous climate, according to the filing.

The lawsuit came after a March 5, 2010 alleged assault on Felber by Husam Zakharia, a UC Berkeley alumnus and former member of Students for Justice in Palestine. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office did not file charges against Zakharia after his arrest following the incident.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, stated that “the administration has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the opposing parties in an attempt to ensure that the rights of all persons are respected, and to minimize the potential for violence and unsafe conditions.”

Christopher Patti, chief campus counsel, said in a statement that he was pleased with the court’s ruling.

“The court has reaffirmed the fact that the university has been working hard to resolve conflicts between campus groups with opposing points of view,” he said in the statement.

The court’s decision is still being reviewed, according to Joel Siegal, the attorney representing Felber in the case.

“The court’s ruling is significant in that, for the first time a Federal Court has ruled that Title Six of the Civil Rights Act affords protections to Jewish Students,” he said in the email.

Alisha Azevedo is the assistant university news editor.