Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-CA)
Last night, I attended a speaking event at ACT for America in Southern California, in which the featured speaker was Chuck DeVore, a state Republican assemblyman from Orange County, who is now running against Barbara Boxer for US Senator. DeVore describes himself as a common sense conservative. He is a former official in the Reagan Pentagon, a special asst. for foreign affairs and a retired Lt Colonel in the Army National Guard. The topic of his talk was the Muslim Student Union at the University of California at Irvine, an issue in which he has been personally involved.
DeVore began with his year's experience as an American student at the American University of Cairo, which gave him certain insights into Islam. He then described how he became involved with the MSU at UCI (which is located in his political district). After hearing of the hateful and volatile situation at UCI, and specifically of an incident in which a student who had filmed an event was followed back to his class and harassed by MSU members, he decided to attend an MSU event. Also learning that the MSU was on its own initiative barring recording devices from its events, he decided to take along his own such device. Prior to the event, while having coffee with his family at the nearby Starbucks, he noted one of the MSU members trying to covertly film him with his cell phone.
Upon entering the lecture hall, DeVore noted that seating was arranged along gender lines, males on one side, females on the other, at which point, he sat with the females, much to the consternation of the males in the audience. He objected when the moderator announced prior to the event that recording devices were not allowed-and proceeded to record the event anyway.
DeVore further learned that UCI had been enforcing the MSU policy of no recording of its events on campus-even though it was the only UC campus doing so and even though that policy was not put into writing. The UC-Riverside campus, on the other hand, had informed its MSU that if they wanted to restrict recording of their events, they would have to hold them off-campus. (Good for UCR.)
Subsequently, DeVore has met with UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and asked why Drake does not at least condemn the hate-filled words that are spoken at MSU events. According to DeVore, Drake's response was that he would have to address the words of every speaking event held on the campus. DeVore said that he pointed out to Drake the difference between responding to a speech, say on global warming, to those of the MSU speakers who regularly use venomous language towards other people.
During the Q&A, I had a chance to thank DeVore for addressing the issue and pointed out that at UCI and other campuses across North America, many Jews were afraid to assert their Jewish identity on campus for fear of harassment or other intimidation. I also told him that we needed the voice of political figures like him, who had a larger audience than we do. I also had a chance to chat briefly with him before he left.
Of course, it goes without saying that he has my vote since he is running against Barbara Boxer. DeVore is one of the few sensible and conservative politicians in the state, and no doubt would be a great replacement for the zany Boxer. I hope if he is successful, he will continue to follow the events at UC-Irvine.