AMCHA’S Responses to Antisemitic Activity at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
2. In April 2018, Various Cal Poly Registered Student Organizations Demanded Pro-Israel Clubs be Excluded from Funding Increases
- INCIDENT: The Drylongso Collective, a group that consists of numerous Cal Poly student organizations, demanded “an increase in ASI funding for ALL cultural clubs, with the exception of organizations that are aligned with Zionist ideology.”
- 5/3/18 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative organized a coalition letter signed by 60 groups and addressed to the president of Cal Poly that stated, “We are 60 religious, education and civil rights organizations who are deeply concerned about the ‘Cal Poly Students’ Demands,’ published last month…While acknowledging these students’ right to express their opinion, we must point out that the demand to exclude students ‘aligned with Zionist ideology’ asks ASI to curtail the allocation of funding to certain groups simply because they do not agree with their opinions. Demanding that only Zionist groups be excluded from a request for an increase in student government funding is both hateful and discriminatory, and its implementation at a state university would be a violation of the legal obligation to allocate funds in a viewpoint neutral way. In addition, the implications of this statement for the safety and well-being of Jewish and pro-Israel students on your campus are highly troubling.” The groups then urged President Armstrong to implement specific steps, “to ensure that ALL students at Cal Poly — including students who identify as Zionists because of their religious belief, ethnic identity, national origin, or political persuasion — are free to express their opinions, beliefs and identities and to fully participate in campus life, now and in the future.”
- 5/21/18 – UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSE: President Armstrong responded with a letter that started out well by stating, “Please know that from the very start of this situation – beginning with the student protests, through the much publicized “list of demands” generated by an unofficial student group; throughout our ongoing efforts today – I have always steadfastly stated that I personally, as well as my administration and staff – wholly reject any consideration of a demand that is so inconsistent with our institutional values – which clearly support diversity, inclusion, respect and equality for all.” Unfortunately, the letter finished without specifically addressing the coalition letter’s recommendations, and also raised a troubling issue. Specifically, the letter stated, “The University will continue to assure anyone inquiring about the group demand regarding the exclusion of Zionist organizations that it is viewed as it has been from the very beginning – as completely devoid of credibility having no place in any conversation. This is why we chose not to specifically address it in our public response, as we felt to do so would have only legitimized a divisive and inappropriate political statement. Instead, we chose to pro-actively address the positive, inclusive campus-wide efforts we have implemented and continue to promote.”
1. University-Sponsored Speaking Tour of Ilan Pappe on 3 CSU Campuses – Including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
- INCIDENT: Prof. Ilan Pappe, an anti-Israel professor, who has publicly called for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, was flown from London to speak on several CSU campuses in February 2012. This speaking tour was organized and promoted by CSU administrators and faculty members and used university resources to do so. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Pappe’s talk was organized by History Professor Manzar Foroohar and sponsored by the History Department and the College of Liberal Arts. In an email announcing the event, which Professor Foroohar sent to all faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, she asked them to announce Pappe’s talk in their classes and to encourage their students to attend. Professor Foroohar is a founder of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and her animus towards Israel is a matter of public record.
- 2/13/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative wrote to the president of the CSU system as well as the presidents of the individual campuses where Pappe spoke, alerting them of Pappe’s animus towards the Jewish state, as well as the animus of the administrators and faculty members that organized the tour.
- 2/13/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative produced a video explaining our concerns.
- 2/16/12 – CSU’S RESPONSE: The Presidents of the 3 CSU campuses where Ilan Pappe was scheduled to appear – Jeffery Armstrong at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, John Welty of CSU Fresno, and Harry Hellenbrand of CSU Northridge – issued a statement affirming the “academic freedom” of the faculty organizers of Pappe’s tour to use university resources to promote Pappe’s politically-motivated and directed tour.