Controversy erupted when a teacher at UC Berkeley offered her students extra credit for participating in anti-Israel activities in support of terrorist-run Gaza.
By Mindy Rubenstein, World Israel News
The University of California Berkeley is under fire after the school approved an instructor’s plan to offer extra credit to students who participate in an anti-Israel march or watch an anti-Israel documentary.
Graduate student Victoria Huynh, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, sent an email to students enrolled in her course, “Asian American Communities and Race Relations,” about the anti-Israel extra-credit options.
The email promoted an event called the “National walkout against genocide, settler-colonialism, and the siege of Gaza,” and informed students that they had the option to participate in the national student walkout or watch a short documentary on Palestine and contact their local California representatives.
This participation would count as either a field trip or an extra five points in the field trip category of their course grade.
After students posted a screenshot of the assignment on social media, the school faced heavy backlash, including with a diversity and inclusion organization that Huynh had previously worked for, Model Expand.
The post about the assignment received more than 1.9 million views in less than a day.
UC Berkeley received extensive criticism on social media, with concerns raised about the safety of Jewish students on campus and the broader implications of such actions by a teacher.
After dozens of media outlets contacted UC Berkeley over the issue, a spokesperson there responded that they are broadening the scope of the assignment.
In an official statement, the university explained that students could now attend any local event related to the course’s subject, including protests, panel discussions, or book talks.
They could also watch any documentary related to the Middle East, not just those with an anti-Israel focus.
UC Berkeley’s Assistant Vice Chancellor at the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Dan Mogulof, said in a statement: “The situation has been remedied, the assignment has been changed, and there are now a number of options for extra credit, not just one.”
The teacher’s email also drew condemnation from pro-Israel activists who called it indoctrination.
“Extra credit for protesting anything is pathetic,” Matt Sarelson, a Florida-based attorney, wrote in a post on X viewed more than 10,000 times. “Extra credit for participating in a pro-Hamas protest is evil.”
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