Former University of California in Los Angeles law student Milan Chatterjee has decided to leave the Southern California school after experiencing what he says was harassment from anti-Israeli groups on campus.
As president of the Graduate Student Association at UCLA, Chatterjee maintained a strict “viewpoint neutrality” policy regarding Israel, according to The Daily Wire.
In 2015, Chatterjee rejected a proposal to contribute funds to an event that would allow students to demonstrate support for or against the state of Israel. Stating that the issues were irrelevant to campus politics, Chatterjee firmly stated the GSA should maintain a neutral stance by abstaining from providing funding for either side of the argument.
This statement ignited controversy on campus and bullying directed in Chatterjee’s direction, reports The Daily Wire.
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The Students for Justice in Palestine group took the lead in establishing a campaign against the former law student. It demanded an apology from the GSA president and called for his resignation.
UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said Chatterjee violated university policy by withholding funding, according to the Daily Bruin.
The SJP enlisted the help of lawyers from Palestine Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union to pressure Chatterjee.
The pressure continued well into 2016. The Daily Wire reports Chatterjee felt his school work, health and sanity were suffering due to what he felt was harassment.
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Since then, Chatterjee has decided to complete his final year of law school at New York University.
In a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Chatterjee described his struggles and his reasons for leaving the university.
“The hostile and unsafe 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,” he wrote.
He added, “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 [Boycott, Divest, Sanctions]-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.”
His letter continues to describe what he believes is a lack of support from UCLA administration, citing examples of specific instances when he says the vice chancellor of legal affairs refused to help him and when the vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion conducted a three-month investigation into him.
Chatterjee hopes to find what he describes as a “less hostile learning environment” at NYU.