Friday, June 10, 2022

Deja Vu all over again?

 Gary Fouse


"Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University.  The Regents call on University leaders actively to challenge anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination when and wherever they emerge within the University community."  

-UC Regents revised Statement of Principles Against Intolerance

March 24, 2016

On May 18-19, the University of California Regents held public meetings in which students, faculty, staff, and other interested parties could address the regents with their UC-related concerns. During those hearings, a number of Jewish students from UCLA urged the Regents to take a stronger stand against campus anti-Semitism as they recounted their own personal experiences. I am cross-posting an article from the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal.

Wait a minute: This all sounds very familiar. That's because back in 2015, I participated in two such events where I joined other colleagues in informing the UC Regents about the problem of anti-Semitism on UC campuses. The first event was at UC Irvine, where I was then working as a part-time teacher, and the second event was at UCLA. Subsequently, in March 2016, the Regents passed a revised Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that specifically addressed anti-Semitism.

Predictably, that did not solve the problem because similar, Palestinian-inspired incidents have continued to occur on UC campuses including disruptions of Jewish, pro-Israel events by Students for Justice in Palestine and various chapters of the Muslim Student Association/Union. I should add that 2015 was hardly the only year in which UC Regents have listened to the complaints of anti-Semitism from Jewish students. The result has been, in my view, that the Statement of Principles is nothing more than a piece of paper that the university can proudly exhibit when complaints arise. Anti-Semitism does have a place at the University of California and is alive and well, just as is the case on campuses across North America.

And why is this given that the UC Regents have gone on record with their Statement of Principles? It is largely because university administrators are too cowardly to take action, in some cases, probably because they sympathize with all the efforts to demonize Israel, even if it means that some Jewish students are subject to intimidation and bullying while pro-Israel speakers have their free speech rights violated. No doubt, they are also intimidated by the Muslim students and their supporters in organizations like CAIR-ever ready to file lawsuits against people for perceived discrimination.

I will close this with a quote from one of the UCLA Jewish students to the Regents:

 The UC Regents need “to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and stay committed to creating a safe educational space for all students by upholding the Principles Against Intolerance.” 

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