Students can get extra credit for attending Palestinian march says UC Berkeley

The university has endorsed an academic's controversial plan to offer higher marks to students attending anti-Israel rallies


BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: Students wear UC Berkeley school apparel as they walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus on March 14, 2022 in Berkeley, California. UC Berkeley is set to cut on-campus enrollment by a minimum of 2,500 students for fall enrollment due to an extreme shortage of affordable housing. Many college towns in California are facing similar shortages due to construction restraints. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

UC Berkeley has endorsed an academic’s plan to offer extra credits to students who attend an anti-Israel protest or watch an anti-Israel documentary.

Outrage engulfed the prestigious university after graduate student Victoria Huynh emailed students on her course, Asian American Communities and Race Relations, about the scheme.

The email contained a poster for the "National walkout against genocide, settler-colonialism and the siege of Gaza". It showed a young man holding a slingshot and a Palestinian flag in the ruins of Gaza.

Huynh wrote: “Hi everyone, we’re offering a field trip and/or extra credit opportunity.

“Students can attend the national student walkout tomorrow against the settler-colonial occupation of Gaza OR

“Students can watch a short documentary on Palestine and call/email your local California representative.

“Doing so will either count as a field trip or an extra 5 points on the field trip category of your grade.”

A diversity and inclusion organization, that Huynh worked for, Model Expand, was quick to distance itself from her.

Its founder said: “I wanted to share that Victoria Huynh has not contracted with us for over a year. I am sorry for the pain that I can feel in these messages. We are deeply heartbroken by what is happening in the world right now.”

However, UC Berkeley said students could still attend the protest or watch the documentary and get extra credit. 

The university did broaden it to other "local events" and "any documentary they wish about the Middle East".

In a statement, it said: “Students can now attend any local event they wish—such as a book talk or a panel discussion--related to the course’s subject, including the protest…or they can watch any documentary they wish about the Middle East.

“As soon as the administration was made aware of the assignment it moved quickly to ensure that it would be changed. The situation has been remedied, the assignment has been changed and there are now a number of options for extra credit, not just one.”

One critic on social media said: “If you are a Jewish student reading this, do you feel safe on campus right now?’

Another posted: “It’s tedious work to undo everything the progressive system has done. We’re talking about livelihoods here though. Who has a good job & who doesn’t, who gets their grade doctored, who is allowed to accomplish, etc.

“This new system must come down.” 

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