Commissioner, Brian Levin

For over three decades civil rights attorney and criminologist Professor Brian Levin has been recognized for pioneering research and policy initiatives on hate and extremism within academia, the NGO community, courts and government. Mr. Levin is founding director of California State University – San Bernardino’s award-winning Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism. Prof. Levin is the 2020 recipient of the annual Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Scholarship for the CSU system, the largest in the nation. He has authored or coauthored influential studies on hate crime trends as well as related Supreme Court briefs and widely cited articles in journals like Stanford Law & Policy Review, Northwestern Law School Journal of Crime & Criminology and American Behavioral Scientist.

Prof. Levin has testified and presented analysis before Congress and the California legislature across four decades. In addition, he has assisted the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Anti-Semitism, numerous universities, state and federal agencies, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and innumerable NGOs. He has served on various boards including the California Association of Official Human Relations Organizations, the National Coalition for the Homeless, We Are Many United Against Hate – Wisconsin and was an organizational representative to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Hate Crime Task Force. Levin is principal author of a key brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Wisconsin v. Mitchell in 1993, where he presented criminological analysis on hate crime’s severity. His co-authored book, The Limits of Dissent is about the Constitution and domestic terrorism.

In the 1990s he was a corporate litigator at Irell & Manella, legal director for the Center for the Study of Ethnic and Racial Violence and an associate director of legal affairs for Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Klanwatch /Militia Task Force in Montgomery, Alabama. While at SPLC he edited their quarterly reports and worked on initiatives related to church arsons, anti-government militias and extremism and the Ku Klux Klan, and expanding the coverage and responses to hate crimes.

Since his arrival at CSUSB in August 1999, from Stockton University, Levin’s work as an educator has focused on teaching and advising students on criminal law and procedure, national security and hate crime. His reach, however extended beyond campus to authoring and conducting accredited trainings for educators, community groups, and government. For years, Levin has led the compilation of frequent reports on hate crime, terrorism and extremism, initially from data routinely analyzed at the CSHE in their Report to The Nation publications. His team often uses data to factually disprove widespread misinformation, also used to influence public policy. Levin and the Center have coordinated with various stakeholders in the drafting and endorsement of numerous state and federal legislative bills – including the establishment of the Commission on the State of Hate.

Levin received his bachelor’s degree with multiple honors in history from the University of Pennsylvania and his juris doctorate from Stanford Law School, where he was awarded the Block Civil Liberties Award. He is a member of the State Bar of California and Supreme Court of the United States.

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