The University of Cal.
English Department at UC Berkeley has paid $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a coalition of Jewish groups.
The university also agreed to implement a new code of conduct that would require students to report any such conduct, according to the agreement, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The settlement, reached by attorneys at the firm of the same name representing the student groups, also resolves a complaint from the California Civil Rights Commission (CCRC).
UC Berkeley is expected to begin instituting the code of Conduct in February 2018, according the agreement.
“This settlement will go a long way toward ensuring that our students and staff are not subject to discrimination and harassment, and to provide them with a more welcoming environment,” said Jessica Rosenblum, a spokesperson for UC Berkeley.
The students were represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The agreement requires the university to develop a code of behavior to be posted on all campus buildings and posted on campus email lists.
“Students are entitled to an environment free of discrimination and intolerance,” said Rosenblamp.
“UC Berkeley is committed to fostering a welcoming campus environment for all.”
In March 2017, SJP filed a complaint with the CCCRC accusing the university of failing to comply with federal hate-crimes statutes and policies.
“The University of Berkeley’s failure to enforce its code of silence and hate-crime laws is particularly egregious given the large number of reported incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual assault at UCB and elsewhere across the country,” the complaint said.
In addition to the $1,600 settlement, SDPC said the university has agreed to institute a code that would apply to any student who reports a student sexual harassment or sexual assault.
UC Berkeley, which is in the middle of its new four-year academic year, announced last year that it would require all incoming freshmen to sign a statement affirming the university’s “zero tolerance” for hate speech and racism.
The statement would be published on the university website and on the UCB Facebook page.
The code would be required for students who have participated in SJP’s “March for Free Speech,” the group said.
The college also will adopt a campuswide code of speech and conduct that includes a “zero-tolerance policy for racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic speech, acts, and behaviors.”