UC Committee on Campus Climate Report: Hostility on Campus for Jewish Students
The University of California President’s Advisory Committee on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion released a report on July 9, 2012 entitled, “Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team Report & Recommendations.” The report was the culmination of investigatory visits to six UC campuses by two members of President Yudof’s Advisory Committee on Campus Climate, Richard Barton, the Anti-Defamation League National Education Chair, and Alice Huffman, California NAACP President.
Barton and Huffman found that manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, promote hostility and create significant and difficult campus climate issues for Jewish students, including harassment, intimidation, and undermining Jewish students’ sense of belonging.
The report made eight recommendations for reform, including: adopting a definition of anti-Semitism, such as the EUMC working definition, that recognizes that there are ways in which anti-Semitism is manifested in regard to Israel; adoption of a hate-speech free campus policy; access to kosher food, and inclusion of Jewish students in future Campus Climate meetings. Currently, the UC administration is reviewing the findings and recommendations.
Unfortunately, several known anti-Israel groups, including the UC Ad Hoc Committee on Jewish Campus Climate and Jewish Voice for Peace, have expressed their opposition to the report. Jewish Voice for Peace has also condemned State Assembly resolution HR 35, which condemns anti-Semitism on campus. These groups claim that the report seeks to silence legitimate anti-Israel discourse and misrepresents the characterization of support for Palestinian rights. They have urged President Yudof to table the report and its recommendations. AMCHA has sent letters to the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate to demonstrate support for the findings of the Committee’s report and to explain why the groups in opposition to the report are problematic. (See AMCHA’s letters here and here).
TAKE ACTION: Sign the StandWithUs petition, that affirms the report’s findings, urges its endorsement by UC, and calls on the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion to work toward implementation of the report’s recommendations.
UC Regents Neglect Their Responsibility to Keep Propaganda Out of the Classroom
In early July, the UCLA Committee on Academic Freedom made the appalling decision that Professor David Delgado Shorter’s promotion of an academic boycott of Israel on a course website meets academic standards. In response, AMCHA sent a letter to the UC Regents, signed by more than 1,000 AMCHA supporters. The letter asked the Regents to publicly acknowledge their legal responsibility under UC Regents’ policy and California State Law to ensure that UC classrooms are free from the promotion of political propaganda. In two separate letters to AMCHA co-founders (see here and here), UC Regents Chairwoman Sherry Lansing claimed that the UC Regents do not sanction anti-Semitism, but she nevertheless refused to take any action to enforce University policy and the law, stating: “we simply must support free speech and academic freedom on all UC campuses. Therefore, we are not able to agree to your requests.” AMCHA replied to both of Chairman Lansing’s letters, expressing deep distress at the Regents’ unwillingness to exercise their legal and moral obligations. See AMCHA’s replies here and here.
TAKE ACTION: Write to UC Regents Chairwoman Sherry Lansing and the Board of Regents (firstname.lastname@example.org) expressing your disappointment with their unwillingness to exercise their legal and moral responsibility to ensure that University of California classrooms are not used for political indoctrination, including the promotion of anti-Semitism. Consider copying your letter to other UC and state leaders, whose email addresses are provided here for your convenience. In addition, please copy or blind-copy the AMCHA Initiative (administrator@AMCHAinitiative.org).