Commentary: Repairing the Damage Caused by the ASUCD Vote

When we first reported on the January 29 ASUCD vote that called on the UC Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories,” it was clear that this was an issue of local import – it was not clear that it would gain national traction as it did.

That is important to keep in mind when we gauge the actions of ASUCD senator Azka Fayyaz whose picture and comments posted on her personal Facebook page have become the poster child for national right wing blogs and publications.

She posted, “Hamas & Shariah law have taken over UC Davis. Brb crying over the resilience.”

As a Cal Aggie editorial notes, “Fayyaz’s post was met with harsh criticism. As a result of of public backlash, Fayyaz uploaded the same photo again on Jan. 29  with a different caption stating, “If a movement is not controversial, if no one is mad, it’s not strong enough & it’s not worth the fight. Israel will fall Insha’Allah : ) #UCDDivest.” She has since disabled her Facebook account.”

Ms. Fayyaz published an extensive public statement in the Aggie, and she writes, “Although I made a comment on the picture stating that the caption was satirical, the anti-divestment community conveniently left out the comment from the rest of the picture and took the caption out of context. In doing so, they shared my picture on various Islamophobic, racist and anti-Palestinian blogs and articles.”

She notes, “I received hateful e-mails and violent messages and was labeled as an anti-Semite, a spokesperson for Hamas and a Jew-hater. All of these judgements are grotesquely disgusting and factually incorrect.”

At the same time, she does herself no favors referring to the “Zionist lobby groups” and arguing that “student senators and other students affiliated with Aggies for Israel on campus have also yelled Islamophobic slurs at me such as ‘terrorist’ and threatened me by holding my position as an ASUCD senator hostage over me.”

“Attacks such as these have been directed at me from the day that I assumed the position as an ASUCD senator. Their intentions are clear, to suppress any opposition and slander the individuals while they do it,” she writes.

The Aggie editorial was critical of her conduct, “While it is understandable — and even encouraged — for a political figure and an ASUCD senator to express her excitement over a bill she supports passing, the Editorial Board believes it is inappropriate and insensitive to make a post on a public area that marginalizes and offends certain groups. Although the posts were published on her personal Facebook profile, Facebook posts are a grey area, as ASUCD senators historically use Facebook politically to promote their campaigns, publicize events and release public statements.”

They note that ASUCD officials agree to certain policies including upholding the principles of community which states in part that members of ASUCD “strive to make decisions in an open and inclusive manner that respects, nurtures and reflects understanding of the needs and interests of all community members.”

The Aggie writes, “We believe Fayyaz has failed to uphold the ASUCD Principles of Community with her public statement and Facebook posts. These posts did not reflect the needs of a broad range of student groups and community members on our campus.”

They noted that, at the January 29 meeting, Ms. Fayyaz made an extreme statement about the definition of Zionism.

“You can’t have coexistence with Zionists. Their purpose of Zionism is discrimination, elimination and ethnic cleansing of a group of people,” Ms. Fayyaz said at the meeting. “So if you want to talk about coexistence, I’m not talking with you because you’re going to try to kill me. I’m Muslim.”

The Aggie adds, “Furthermore, a public statement is an opportunity to empathize and connect with her constituents, and we feel her letter did not do so.”

“We feel that Fayyaz’s public statement was insensitive not only for its absence of remorse to the general community but also for its incendiary nature in this sensitive time. The campus community would benefit from its leaders showing cooperation and positive communication over this indisputably-divisive and polarizing issue,” they write.

The Aggie concludes, “We hope that Fayyaz can remedy her wrongs, as it is not becoming of an elected official to not offer an apology that empathizes more with the students she hurt and represents.”

It is easy to turn Azka Fayyaz into the villain in this story. She, in fact, seems to want to be that villain. We need to remember, however, that this is a student, she clearly thinks very strongly of her position, and fails to recognize she is doing her position far more harm than good.

She has allowed a legitimate discussion about Middle Eastern politics to degenerate into credible charges of anti-Semitism. She has become the poster child for this discussion in a way that no one in the center will sympathize with and everyone on the extreme can use as example of what is wrong with the position.

As an American Jew, I have often found myself in an uncomfortable middle position between two very vocal extreme groups. On the one hand, the history of the Jewish people up until the founding of Israel was one of repression, discrimination and, of course, genocide. The founding of Israel and its survival against all odds should be the model that repressed peoples across the world strive to embody.

At the same time, the struggles of the Palestinian peoples are very real, as well. They are very much displaced peoples and political pawns between the west, struggling to put to an end the “Jewish problem,” and the powers in the Middle East, eager to foment dissent to destabilize Israel.

Unfortunately, while both sides have legitimate grievances against both each other and the west, neither side is beyond reproach. The indiscriminate use of violence and guerrilla tactics against civilian populations in Israel is inexcusable, but so too is the heavy-handed Israeli response and aggressive and militaristic stances.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a centuries-long struggle, it is actually a relatively new one created by the haphazard and sloppy way that the west decided to carve up the land that is now Israel.  The current conflict is, in fact, less than 100 years old.

Middle Eastern politics, of course, is not often the subject of the Vanguard. However, when the focus of local events becomes nationalized, both through the ASUCD vote and the Swastika incident, it becomes impossible to ignore.

I find myself in the middle ground – I oppose the tactics of both the Palestinians and the Israelis in this, and support a two-state solution.

It is quite obvious that cooler heads will not prevail. I see little to be gained by the public flogging of a UC Davis student, even a student senator who does not seem to be able to extricate herself from a self-created mess.

At the same time, we welcome voices from various segments of the community on this issue. We published one such piece on Tuesday.

Interestingly enough, a long-time family friend of mine asked me if the piece was written by me, if I agreed with the piece, and if I didn’t agree with the piece, why did I publish it. I published it because I believe in free speech – in deed, not just in word – and believed it was an important view that needed to be added to the mix.

Unfortunately, it appears that calmer heads are not going to prevail on this matter, but we as a community can at least attempt to carve out the parameters of discussion and what things should be in bounds and out of bounds.

I agree with the Aggie’s comment that Ms. Fayyaz’s “public statement was insensitive not only for its absence of remorse to the general community but also for its incendiary nature in this sensitive time.” So I call on the adults of this community to lead by example and show Ms. Fayyaz and others in this debate and other debates like this, that there is a better way.

Yesterday we published Alan Hirsch’s piece on consensus building, where he noted the use of “facilitated community meetings as a tool to advance the City through often difficult issues.” Clearly, there are a variety of conflict-resolution tools that could be employed in such situations.

We urge the ASUCD to take seriously the damage that they have caused, not only to their own body but to this community as a whole. They have postponed this week’s meeting, but perhaps they can think about ways to repair that rift before it continues to grow.

These are sensitive times and delicate issues and, whatever side of the fence you are on, I hope we can all agree that the manner in which this was handled was poor and reflects poorly on ASUCD and this community – and that is what needs to be repaired.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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97 Comments

  1. LadyNewkBahm

    “I see little to be gained by the public flogging of a UC Davis student, even a student senator who does not seem to be able to extricate herself from a self-created mess.”

    nobody talked about a “public flogging.” having her removed as a senator who obviously does not feel her mission to represent the student body as a whole seems in order.

     

     

        1. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > I don’t know very many people who take student government

          > seriously at any level. I certainly didn’t when I was a student

          I was one of the few “student government geeks” as an undergrad, but almost all the other students were like Don and did not care AT ALL about student government.  We typically had about 5-6% of the students take the time to vote and if you backed out all the Sororities, Fraternities, and Clubs who marched everyone over as a group to vote only about 2% of the students took the time to vote on their own.  I know some people who were involved with Junior College student government in the 80’s and they typically has LESS than 1% of the students actually vote…

      1. Barack Palin

        Maybe most of the students could care less about the ASUCD but it sure looks like they’re being taken seriously with all the press and backlash over the divestment and the Senator’s actions.

        1. David Greenwald

          My perception is different. I think there are two factors. One is that a student body organization would take a vote – largely symbolic on an issue that is extremely divisive. Second, the comments coming out of that played a larger role in fanning the flame. The vote itself was a one-day story, the Swastika and comments from the Senator gave it legs. Neither of those bare on the legitimacy of the organization. Katehi was very quick to make it clear that the university had no interest in divestment.

        2. zaqzaq

          I agree with David.  The comments by the senator gave the story legs and embarrassed both UCD and the greater Davis community.  I am not sure that the swastika would really do much to create a national story.  Either the senator is ignorant or just another politician lying when put in a tough position.

      1. hpierce

        I can see no reason why she would feel a need to resign.  Despite her protestations, methinks she loves the spotlight.

        As to her removal, unless the “adults” step in, can’t see that happening either.  After all, she got a majority vote on her pet issue.  “Adults”  shouldn’t step in, in my opinion, as student government is about learning how to lead, and making mistakes that are best made (and, hopefully, learning from them) when the effect is limited in nature.

         

      2. sisterhood

        Re: student govt. involvement & students not registering. Gee I wish an actual college student would comment here. My experience with U of A and AZ State student volunteers: they don’t think any party truly represents them. A few have told me, confidentially, while working on the local campaigns here: “the dems are the lesser of two evils but none of the parties (even Green) represents us.” The very intelligent, articulate, compassionate guy, approx. 25 years old, who is my hair stylist, told me the same thing. And before you all assume it’s an AZ thing, it’s not. Can we plz have even one UCD student reply Thanks.

    1. Matt Williams

      having her removed as a senator who obviously does not feel her mission to represent the student body as a whole seems in order.
      Interesting comment Lady. How many elected officials at any level of government … Federal, State and/or Local represent their electorate as a whole? You can probably count them on your fingers and toes.

      With that said, how do you think the senator does not feel her mission is to represent the student body?

  2. Tia Will

    She has allowed a legitimate discussion about Middle Eastern politics to degenerate into credible charges of anti-Semitism. “

    I think that this is one example of how using terms with different meanings interchangeably can lead us to cementing our own positions while casting dispersions on others. I have not read all of the postings of Ms. Fayaz, however, from the information posted here, she seems highly critical of the extreme Zionist position. I have not seen any expression of overall condemnation of Jews. I see judging her on the basis of her anti Zionist position and extrapolating that to mean that she is anti Semitic is very similar to the position taken on this blog by Frankly who claims that Islam is a violent religion and so all Muslims are to blame instead of focusing on the negative actions of the radical jihadist minority.

    Can we not, as the adults in the room, even manage to judge people on the words that they have spoken or written rather than what we then extrapolate those words to mean ?  How can we ever have a reasoned conversation if we put our negative thoughts and words into the minds of others and then pretend that we are truly listening to their point of view.

    Please feel free to correct me if Ms. Fayaz has posted any “anti Semitic” comments….not anti Zionist….which she most certainly has.

      1. hpierce

        Arguably, ‘Israel will fall…’ is about the failure of a political entity (if it pleases God/Allah).  “Push the Jews into the sea”, is a statement promoting genocide.  I believe that Yahweh/God/Allah abhors the destruction of people, and would much prefer that they would live in a just, peacfeul way.

        1. zaqzaq

          The quote “Israel will fall Insha’Allah” and her support for Hamas clearly show an anti Semitic philosophy.  What does Hamas stand for.  Looking at Islam now it is clearly a sexist and violent religion.  What is the proscribed penalty for conversion from islam to any other religion?  It is death.  Where are the feminists when it comes to the subjugation of women by this religion.  Women are treated like chattel in many of predominately Islamic countries.  There have been instances where they justify slavery.  The sale of christian women as slaves was justified by muslims just last year.  The hijab, burqua or chador are all sexist tools used by the men in this religion.  I had a friend that was in the military.  He came into contact with Iraqi women who would wear jeans on the army bases but had to wear the burqua off the bases for fear of being beaten or worse.  Where are all of the feminists?

  3. WesC

    I see in today’s Davis Enterprise there is a photo with a young student holding a picket sign that states “Free Gaza  End the Blocade!”  A sad statement that a student of UCD does not know the correct spelling is “Blockade” and not Blocade”   I guess basic literacy is not a requirement for UCD students.

        1. Davis Progressive

          same concept – haste.  i work in sac, i see misspelled signs all the time.  i’ve even misspelled signs in my time, sometimes i catch them, sometimes not.

    1. hpierce

      It’s the damn “inventive spelling” taught in schools!

      DP… it’s one thing to “mis-hit” a key on a keyboard (a ‘typo’)… it’s quite another when you are hand-printing a sign.

        1. sisterhood

          I’ve stopped caring. As a writer,it used to annoy me. Now I have other priorities to be annoyed about. As I’ve mentioned before, when I first read this site, I saw some folks correcting grammar and I did not wish to even write a comment ,because I figured the academic intelligensia (did I misspell that?  don’t care) would jump all over my grammar and not my thoughts. Now I notice, if certain readers can’t figure out a thoughtful rebuttal, they make leftist jokes, they relate every topic to Obama care, rather than the AFFORDABLE Care Act, or they think anyone with compassion is one step away from becoming a Commie or Socialist.

          Just yesterday I was asked to clarify a remark I made about the need for LGBT parity. I believe the reader said I had an incomplete thought and needed to back up my comments w/stats: Sorry, you need to back up your comment with your own stats. I finished my sociology degree years ago & don’t have the interest in researching quantitative & qualitative stats any longer.

          The main point of language is communication. If the poster communicates their thought and your only reply is to correct their grammar or spelling, you really have not made a contribution, to the core subject, IMHO. Thanks everyone.

    2. Matt Williams

      Wes, you never know, it could have been and intentional play on words … bloc and ade … as in if you think this blockade is working, you are drinking the koolade.

          1. Matt Williams

            No I did not Pierce. That was an accident of serendipity. Tark will be missed. He made watching basketball fun.

  4. ryankelly

    Regardless of what this has turned into.  The basic question that ASUCD government asked is do people support or oppose divestment from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories.”   An even more basic question, I think,  is whether people support or oppose Israel building settlements in Palestinian territories.  Is this something the ASUCD should involve themselves in?  Probably not, but the question was asked.

    All the rest is just noise to me – way too emotional and tinged with irrationality and hatred – that is being used to distract from any constructive discussion.

    I went to a meeting years ago that illustrated this.  A Palestinian American man felt that he had been discriminated against or was offended in someway and tried to describe the context of what happened.  It is hard to remember the details, but it definitely was a Palestine/Israel issue.  What I do remember is that the discussion rapidly disintegrated.  One Jewish woman started loudly crying and wailing and kept this up the entire discussion making it impossible to talk.

    When this issue comes up, I walk away.  It is not for us to resolve and there are too many people interested in having no resolution.

    1. Frankly

      The problem here is the acceptance of these proxy complaints as the source of the problem.  The settlements are nothing.  They are just something for the collection of those that are Antisemitic, anti-Israel, irrationally victim mentality-obsessed or just plain ignorant about the topic… to latch on to.

      There is a simple test to confirm or deny this point.  If Israel were to stop building settlements today, and actually concede existing settlement land to the Palestinians, would this result in peace between the Palestinians and Israel?

      Absolutely not.  We know this as the pull out of Gaza did nothing for the peace process.

      The point here is that the Palestinians are miserable and envious and hate.  Until and unless they start looking inward for their problems instead of blaming Israel and the US, they will be forever miserable and the conflict will continue.

      Israel has nothing to gain and more to lose conceding settlements.  Palestinian leaders know this.  Most Palestinian intellectuals know this.   It is western liberals that seem ignorant of this… or else they are in bed with Palestinians in their simple hatred of Israel and/or Jews in general.

      1. Don Shor

        Opposing the settlement expansion policies of the Netanyahu government does not mean one is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, victimmentalityobsessedgobbledygook, or ignorant.
        It means one believes, as I do, that the current government of Israel is one of the impediments to any forward progress on reducing tensions and, perhaps, bringing peace between the governments of Israel and the Palestinians.
        I believe that Hamas is also an impediment to forward progress. I support the actions of the Obama, Bush 1 and 2, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter administrations in trying to keep peace talks going. And all of those administrations have opposed expansion of the settlements.

        1. Frankly

          It means one believes, as I do, that the current government of Israel is one of the impediments to any forward progress on reducing tensions and, perhaps, bringing peace between the governments of Israel and the Palestinians.

          I absolutely don’t.  We heard the same about the occupation of Gaza and look where we are.

          1. Don Shor

            You’re welcome to your opinions. But just because we disagree on this doesn’t mean that one of us is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, or any of your other vituperative characterizations. My position is much closer to that of the opposition parties in Israel, as well as the official position of successive US administrations, than yours is.

        2. ryankelly

          OK.  Then support the settlements and move toward a single state, but then all residents would have to be given equal rights and benefits of being a citizen of that state.

          Or support two separate states and have one state stop building settlements on the other state.

  5. Anon

    We urge the ASUCD to take seriously the damage that they have caused, not only to their own body but to this community as a whole. They have postponed this week’s meeting, but perhaps they can think about ways to repair that rift before it continues to grow.
    These are sensitive times and delicate issues and, whatever side of the fence you are on, I hope we can all agree that the manner in which this was handled was poor and reflects poorly on ASUCD and this community – and that is what needs to be repaired.

    Exactly.  I would hope that these youngsters will have an “ah ha” moment, realize they made a huge mistake in how they handled this issue, and rethink their protocols, and whether they should weigh in on symbolic matters of incendiary and complex foreign policy that really having nothing directly to do with college life.  I also think the ASUCD itself has some soul-searching to do, in terms of whether Fayyez should remain as a suitable ASUCD representative, in light of the invective she has spewed that has unnecessarily fueled the fire and severely violated the UCD Principles of Community.  Obviously this student has a lot of growing up to do, and my hope is that she ultimately is mature enough to learn from this experience.  It may not happen right away, but take some time and reflection on her part.  Certainly an apology on her part is in order, as suggested by the Aggie.

    1. Matt Williams

      I also think the ASUCD itself has some soul-searching to do, in terms of whether Fayyez should remain as a suitable ASUCD representative

      Unless she is guilty of an ethical violation that opens the door to a procedural removal by the ASUCD Board, she is a duly elected representative, and I believe the students who participate in the ASUCD elections are the body that have the power to remove her … either through the normal voting procedure when her term expires, or through a recall vote. Until either of those events happens, she is a duly elected representative.

      With that said, the ASUCD exists at the pleasure of the UC Administration, and that Administration has the right to end the ASUCD as a whole. In 1969 at Cornell we faced similarly “charged” issues that as they escalated engaged the entire Cornell campus, and the nation as a whole. Those were different times, and the passion that was expressed by the students at Cornell, Columbia, Berkeley and other campuses across the nation, connected with both passions and ambivalence that were broadly felt in the non-student population of the United States. Although our nation is much more concerned with economic issues now than we were in 1969, it would be a mistake to think that Azka Fayyaz is is expressing an isolated perspective … and to date the attention to this issue in Davis has not risen to the level of national media attention that the 1969 Cornell events rose to.
      .

      1. South of Davis

        Matt wrote:

        > In 1969 at Cornell we faced similarly “charged” issues

        Did you really have “Militants” walking around with guns and bandoliers loaded with live ammo or was the Newsweek cover just posed? 

        1. Matt Williams

          It was Parents Weekend. If you go to the following link you can get a good sense of what went on. Here are a few additional images.
          .

          .

          .
          When people here in Davis talk about takeover/occupation of a building, they need to put it into context. The following picture is of Cornell President James Perkins addressing the over 2,000 Cornell students who occupied Barton Hall for 24 hours in support of the students who occupied the Student Union (Willard Straight Hall).
          .

          .

          .
          An interesting aspect of the Barton Hall occupation was the in addition to being Cornell’s basketball arena and indoor track venue, it is also a National Guard Armory, with various ROTC installations around its perimeter. President Perkins had to, in addition to negotiating with the African-American Students and a massive Faculty Revolt protesting the negative effect of the occupation on academic freedom, keep the New York National Guard from initiating an armed invasion of Barton Hall in order to evict the occupying student from a military facility. President Perkins successfully handled all three of those issues with about as much professionalism as one could imagine … and what did he get for his efforts? He was fired by the New York equivalent of our Regents.

      2. Miwok

        Unless she is guilty of an ethical violation that opens the door to a procedural removal by the ASUCD Board, she is a duly elected representative, and I believe the students who participate in the ASUCD elections are the body that have the power to remove her

        Matt, she has violated the Principles of Community we all sign and promise to uphold when we take a position of a student, faculty or staff at UC Davis.

        Two things I notice:

        She violated the Principles.

        No one called her on it and the Administration did nothing.

        Like many managers and Faculty, they influence the behavior of students to create controversy, often with help from outside campus, and nothing is ever done.

        Her perspective is like that of a bully who does not know how far off the track they are, with no clue about the others’ point of view. The Senator should have a clue when her student constituency walked out of the meeting before the vote. Even questioning the person usually results in a diatribe and ostracizing the offenders. Typical of a student experiencing freedom for the first time, to lord it over others.

        1. Miwok

          I’m not sure that it is a slam dunk that she violated the Principles of Community. Arguable, yes. Definitely did, nowhere near as clear.

          http://occr.ucdavis.edu/poc/

          “We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, status within or outside the university, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred.”

          “We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring.”

          Of course, I can see why you say this,

          The Principles of Community are not official University of California, Davis policy; nor do they replace existing policies, procedures or codes of conduct.”

          1. Matt Williams

            Miwok, you have only grabbed part of the words. From that same website, below you will see a few more. The question (for which I have no answer) is whether her actions are discrimination or freedom of expression … which is precisely why I said, “Arguable, yes. Definitely did, nowhere near as clear.”

            “We affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community and affirm our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency towards all. We recognize the right of every individual to think and speak as dictated by personal belief, to express any idea, and to disagree with or counter another’s point of view, limited only by university regulations governing time, place and manner. We promote open expression of our individuality and our diversity within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect.”

      3. sisterhood

        The only issue in recent times that brought any U.C. students to protest in any kind of (relatively small) numbers was their fee increase, and the subsequent protest of being pepper-sprayed, if I’m not mistaken.

        Is there any issue nowadays that would bring this sort of passion to a college campus? Not to say the students of today are dispassionate and/or disorganized. Maybe, for the most part, they’re truly satisfied with their lot in life and feel no need to rock the boat. That’s okay, too.

        Wish some actual students would reply.

  6. Neutral

    Early in the morning of Parents’ Weekend, 40 years ago this Saturday, 11 fire alarms rang out across the Cornell campus. At 3 a.m., a burning cross was discovered outside Wari House, a cooperative for black women students. The following morning, members of the Afro-American Society (AAS) occupied Willard Straight Hall to protest Cornell’s perceived racism, its judicial system and its slow progress in establishing a black studies program . . . . [Edit] At 9:40 a.m., in an attempt to take the building back, white Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers entered the Straight and fought with AAS students in the Ivy Room before being ejected. Fearing further attacks, the black students brought guns into the Straight to defend themselves.  .  .  .  
    [Source:  http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2009/04/campus-takeover-symbolized-era-change ]

    1. Matt Williams

      That is correct Neutral. The occupation did not begin with weapons involved. The Delta Upsilon effort precipitated that response by the African-American students continuing the occupation.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    I had dinner with a UC Davis professor recently, he is well liked by students and converses and interacts with a wide range of students.

    He told me the mood on campus isn’t good, and that Jews / Israel are hated. Old white males don’t have a big fan club, either.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “He told me the mood on campus isn’t good, and that Jews / Israel are hated.”

      big difference between jews being hated and the policies of israel being opposed.  i find it believable that israel – or at least its policies are opposed.  hated?  i’m not so sure.  i find it very hard to believe that jews are hated on campus – it’s certainly not my experience among my more radical friends.  i’d need to know a lot more about the professor, the field, and how broad a group of students he’s interacting with.  i’m very skeptical about this claim.

      1. hpierce

        See the quote by Roseanne Barr referenced in a later post.  Seems hatred is not limited to one group.  Calling for “nuking” (literally, it appears) of all non-Jews in Davis can be proposed by a Jew… but she is obviously an “out-lier” (out-liar?) at the 99.9999 level (or, 0.00001  % of Jewish people would ascribe to her twisted mentality).  She claims to be a Jew, but don’t think she is actually of the Jewish FAITH.  I believe a person of faith, particularly a Jew, would not want to see a literal Davis Holocaust.

  8. Alan Miller

    David,

    Thanks for posting this, both the quotes from the Aggie Editorial and the ASUCD Senator’s message, and your comments.

    I appreciate your in-the-middle view between two extremes, that I largely share, if not in each detail, overall in concept.

    Another good thing about free speech is that some are so wrapped up in ego and impressing their kin-folk, that they actually tell us what they truly believe.

    I cannot imagine consensus ever solving this problem.  As I stated in an earlier article, when you try Middle East politics in the court of the City, the food COOP, or ASUCD, all you get is a stalemate and a hot potato.

    I will not have time today to read today’s comments, but will read them and post more over the next few days.

     

  9. Frankly

    If you support organizations like ASUCD and others that work as bottom-up or middle-out activists groups to agitate for cause, then I think you need to take stock of your support and defense of potentially impeachable behavior.

    Let me use the history of Davis’s Human Relations Commission as an example.  It was disbanded by and reformed by the then current city council because of over-reaction and overreach on a particular policing event that turned out to be nothing.

    Said another way… if you are against any activist organization, the best thing you can probably do to make it go away is to support the extremism of the group… because the nature of activists is that they always push for more… they develop a false sense of security for support of their position and end up pushing one step too far, and then they are gone.

    The better approach is to join in criticism of mistakes and overreach so that the activists get the message to moderate their message and activities… so that they maintain credibility over the long haul.

    I see a lot of people defending the clearly impeachable words of this ASUCD Senator, and it will not end well for her, nor the organization.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Let me use the history of Davis’s Human Relations Commission as an example.  It was disbanded by and reformed by the then current city council because of over-reaction and overreach on a particular policing event that turned out to be nothing.”

      trying to get under david’s skin?

      1. Frankly

        Bonus points!

        No, really.  I see the downfall of Brian Williams being connected to the same.  There is scant criticism for people and groups that, for some reason, get to live behind the firewall of political correctness.  It is not good for them to be protected that way because they pick up bad habits and eventually screw up badly.

        1. Barack Palin

          Frankly, you hit home with that comment about the HRC, if you only knew how much.  I’ve gotta agree with you about that HRC back then.  I was so happy to see Ted Puntillo and that council disband them.

  10. hpierce

    Ok… just read Roseanne Barr’s quote via a Sacbee article in the paper today (also, apparently Twitter).  According to the Bee, the quote is “I hope all the Jews leave UC Davis & it then gets nuked”.  If she gets her wish, goodbye David, goodbye Matt, goodbye Tia, goodbye DP, goodbye BP, etc., etc., etc.  Goodbye me.  Good to have known you.

    If anyone has moral “kahones”, they will “blast” and boycott any of her [Ms Barr’s  –  perhaps we could “barr her from UCD and/or the City] current or future endeavors.  Don’t care if you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Shinto, whatever.  She has gone public (given the range of even a “simple” nuclear device) that we should all die.

    I could add SO MANY adjectives to describe Ms Barr (“crotch scratching” is the most charitable I can think of [at least 5 more, at the proverbial drop of a hat], at this moment), but I believe we should actively reject the attitudes that have arisen from some immature students, flexing their still-developing “intellectual/hormonal ‘muscles'”.  Enough… let’s not feed into the idiots.

    1. sisterhood

      Wonder if a super hot actress grabbed her crotch if as many folks would have been that offended. I’m not supporting Ms. Barr but I can’t bring myself to despise her, either. Much of her humor reminds me of Kristen Wiig from SNL.

      Also, Ms. Barr brought many taboo subjects to the attention of America’s sitcom crowd; I especially recall her episodes about battered women. Also, her episode about being worried about her sister becoming a cop. Her interaction with her teens was the most authentic I’d ever seen on t.v. Her struggles as a middle class mom, trying with her husband to provide the basics for her family, were authentic. I liked her show. I like her stand up.

      If you don’t like her, I guess you could boycott her macadamia nuts from her farm, if she still owns that.

    1. Frankly

      You maybe right this time.   Although, I would not be surprised to hear that either she or Rosie O’Donnell will be Jon Stewart’s replacement.

      But with Barr’s comment we get a good reminder of the slippery slope of Anti-Semitism… how we allow a bit, then a little more then a little more… and eventually Jews are persecuted again… and then again we start saying “never again.”

      1. sisterhood

        Not sure why Rosie O’Donnell is now on this thread, unless she’s being lumped together w/Roseanne because she is a feisty woman, but again I wonder. If Rosie were a vivaciously  young, hot in the Hollywood sense lesbian, would she be shown this much disdain?

  11. Dave Hart

    The vote that the ASUCD took on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a vote of conscience that reflects much of the student body opinion for those who take the time to be involved in student government.  This is no different than the boycott of South Africa movement and has many parallels.  In very broad terms both countries were created and financially supported as colonial outposts for strategic benefits to the home countries.  Zionism has its roots in ethnically Jewish persons who were not particularly religious, so being anti-Zionist is just a special case of being anti-colonial and anti-imperialist.  That is really pretty middle of the road.  The swastika on the wall a week ago could have just as easily been made by someone opposed to the BDS vote to garner sympathy, and the ASUCD Senator is speaking emotionally.  Most of the support for South Africa and the free Nelson Mandela movement were easily as emotional and firey in their rhetoric.

    The Vanguard coverage of this isn’t all that interesting because it doesn’t look into all those people who agree with the resolution passed by the ASUCD but who have maintained a much more sober stance.  The Vanguard coverage also hasn’t looked into why the BDS resolution was passed and the facts behind it, instead, focusing on the more extreme BDS supporters while acting as if some of the anti-BDS people are “normal”.  [moderator] edited … why not dig into their rhetoric a well?

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      It is interesting how many people in Davis are making excuses for what was said, spinning what was said, and even offering that the swastika may have been a plant.

      Arafat got 98% of what he wanted yet he still could not say yes. Israel gives back the West Bank, and then is attacked from the West Bank.

      Were South Africans launching shells into Johannesburg?

    2. Frankly

      This is no different than the boycott of South Africa movement and has many parallels.  In very broad terms both countries were created and financially supported as colonial outposts for strategic benefits to the home countries.

      If Nelson Mandela and his followers were violent murderous terrorists hell bent on destroying South Africa you might have a valid comparison.

      1. Don Shor

        If Nelson Mandela and his followers were violent murderous terrorists hell bent on destroying South Africa you might have a valid comparison.

        That is, of course, how they were portrayed by the government of South Africa at the time.

  12. Jerry Waszczuk

    From: Jaroslaw Waszczuk [mailto:jjw1980@live.com]
    Sent: Monday, February 9, 2015 3:26 AM
    To: charles.robinson@ucop.edu; cynthia.vroom@ucop.edu; margaret.wu@ucop.edu; karen.petrulakis@ucop.edu
    Cc: president@ucop.edu; regentsoffice@ucop.edu; Kamala.Harris@doj.ca.gov; Ralph J Hexter
    Subject: OPEN LETTER TO UC OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT CHARLES ROBINSON AND HIS STAFF -RE:ANTISEMITISM AND UC DAVIS CHANCELLOR LINDA KATEHI

    UC DAVIS GREEK BORN CHANCELLOR LINDA KATEHI

    Linda Katehi became the 6th Chancellor of the University of California, Davis in 2009, succeeding Larry Vanderhoef.

    In April 2011, Linda Katehi participated, in a tell-all Interview for the Greek—USA Reporter and was asked about her political activities in Greece during the time Greece was ruled by a Greek Fascist Military Regime.

    It appears, from the above mentioned interview, that the UC Davis Chancellor was more likely than not in the same club of supporters for the Greek fascist military regime in 1973, with Nikolaos Michaloliakos who is today the Greek leader of the Neo-Fascist Party Golden Dawn, with seats in the Greek Parliament. The party is nostalgic for Nazism: its logo resembles a swastika, some party officials reportedly deny that the Holocaust occurred and a video shows party leader Nikos Michaloliakos giving a Nazi salute in the Athens City council.

    Perhaps Linda Katehi is connected to Georgios Karatzaferis, a well-known Greek politician and journalist in Europe and former member of European Parliament. Georgios Karatzaferis is a leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally or People’s Orthodox Alarm, abbreviated as LAOS. On different controversial remarks, Georgios Karatzaferis has publicly questioned why Jews did not “come to work on 9/11,” suggesting that they were warned to leave the World Trade Center prior to the attack. He challenged the Israeli ambassador in Greece to come and debate on “the Holocaust, the Auschwitz and Dachau myth” and in 2001 he stated that “the Jews have no legitimacy to speak in Greece and provoke the political world. Their impudence is crass.”

    The logos for both parties are interesting. LAOS’s logos are closely akin to the KKK’s logo and the Golden Dawn Party Logo is similar to the swastika.

    I have no other explanation for Katehi’s chemical attack on peacefully protesting students in November 2011, but it is important to note her neo–fascist hidden from everybody ideology and her hidden affiliation with neo-fascist parties in her native country Greece. Historically, ideologies like fascism and communism are deeply rooted in Greece.

    Jerry Waszczuk,

    Letter from Tammi Benjamin to Daniel Dooley, VP University of California – important to read!

    Posted: September 8, 2011 | Author: John Poris | Filed under: Anti-SemitismIsrael and the Middle-East |1 Comment

    The following is the text of a letter sent by Tammi Benjamin to Daniel Dooley on September 8, responding to his letter (below Tammi’s letter) assuring her that everything in the UC system is just fine and has been addressed, and that her concerns and those of the Jewish community regarding overt and blatant anti-Semitism on UC campuses are “outdated” and overblown.

    Please take the time to read all the way down to the end of the letters, then forward to your lists.  If you are in California, please take a few moments and contact the University of California President, Dr. Yudof (you’ll have to find his contact information yourself!).  You can contact Daniel Dooley at 510-987-0060.

    ==========================================================================================================================================================
                                                                                                                                            
    September 8, 2011

    Daniel M. Dooley
    Senior Vice President- External Relations
    Vice President – Agriculture & Natural Resources
    Office of the President
    University of California

    Dear Mr. Dooley,

    We are faculty at the University of California and co-founders of the AMCHA Initiative, a grassroots coalition of thousands of members of the California Jewish community, who are concerned with the serious and growing problem of anti-Jewish bigotry at the University of California.  The AMCHA Initiative comprises UC alumni, parents, grandparents, rabbis, religious school principals, synagogue members, etc., who have joined together to speak in one voice, demanding that UC administrators ensure the safety of our Jewish students on UC campuses.

    In your response to a member of the AMCHA Initiative (forwarded below), you impugn our coalition’s efforts, saying that they are based on “outdated information,” and that we are “completely uninformed.” Presumably as evidence of the UC administration’s efforts to address the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students, you mention President Mark Yudof’s “campus climate initiative,” the “Olive Tree Initiative,” and the “aggressive position in prosecuting abusive and intolerant behavior” taken by the UC Chancellors with the support of President Yudof.

    I would like to respond to each of the points you have raised in turn:

    1) The President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion was established in June 2010 by President Yudof in response to acts of intolerance and bigotry that had taken place on UC campuses earlier that year. In theory, these included numerous incidents of anti-Jewish bigotry, which had created a hostile environment for many Jewish students: the appearance of several swastikas; the malicious disruption of Jewish students’ events; the virulently anti-Israel divestment campaigns which sought to harm the Jewish state; and the “Israel Apartheid Week” events, which included rhetoric and imagery considered antisemitic by the U.S. State Department.

    By any objective measure, Jewish students have experienced at least as much harassment and intimidation on UC campuses as any other ethnic group.  Yet both in terms of the Advisory Council’s stated mission and the composition of its membership, it was clear to many in the Jewish community that the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry would not receive the attention it deserved.  In fact, President Yudof established working groups within the Advisory Council, which were primarily focused on the concerns of African American, Latino, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered students; Jewish students and antisemitic harassment were not a specific focus of any working group, despite the fact that anti-Jewish bigotry has been a long-standing, pervasive, and serious problem on many UC campuses. Indeed, a review of more than 600 pages of documents pursuant to a public records request of materials related to the deliberations of the Advisory Council during the 2010 – 2011 academic year revealed that there was virtually no discussion of acts of anti-Jewish bigotry.

    2) You have described the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) in very benign terms, as “a Jewish/Muslim student led dialogue on issues of mutual concerns…with a trip to the Middle East and a publication of essays of their experiences.”  However, it has recently been revealed that this program exposes students to numerous individuals who participate in campaigns to harm the Jewish state and have called for its elimination, some of whom even have ties to terrorist organizations that have murdered Jews.

    For example, on the 2009 OTI trip to the Middle East, the students met with Aziz Duwaik, a leader of the terrorist organization Hamas, whose stated goal is to destroy Israel and murder Jews.  They were told by the UCI faculty who organized the meeting and accompanied the students to keep the meeting secret.  Not only did the meeting and collusion to silence the students possibly violate both Israeli and American law, but meeting with a known terrorist leader, who was imprisoned 3 times by Israeli authorities for engaging in terrorist activities, exposed students to considerable danger. Although the meeting with a Hamas leader was made known to UCI Chancellor Drake by October 2009, the chancellor nevertheless did not shut the OTI down.  Rather, he continued to fund the program, and even gave it the 2009 Living Our Values award a few weeks later. Indeed, even President Yudof directed a non-profit organization on whose board he sits to donate thousands of dollars to the OTI and bestowed on the program the President’s Award in 2010.  (See HERE and HERE for two recent articles about the OTI at the University of California).

    Members of the California Jewish community are appalled that UC administrators continue to fund, promote, and honor a program which brings students into contact with individuals and organizations that call for the murder of Jews and the elimination of the Jewish state.

    3) You wrote that the Chancellors “have taken an aggressive position in prosecuting abusive and intolerant behavior,” but members of the Jewish community have seen no signs of that with respect to abusive and intolerant behavior directed against Jewish students. In fact, UC administrators have even been implicated in some of this behavior. Consider the following:

    In October 2010, we sent UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau a letter expressing our concern that an authorized unit of UCB’s College of Letters and Sciences was an official co-sponsor of an event whose primary focus was promoting a boycott of Israeli academics and businesses, and whose speakers and non-academic co-sponsors had all promoted campaigns to harm the Jewish state.  We pointed out that anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns are not only a violation of the core principals of academic freedom and antisemitic according to the working definition adopted by the U.S. State Department,  but these campaigns had already contributed significantly to a hostile environment for Jewish students at UCB.  We respectfully asked Chancellor Birgeneau to sever the university’s involvement with this event and publicly condemn the BDS campaign on his campus.  Chancellor Birgeneau refused our requests.

    In May 2010, the Israel Apartheid Week event presented by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at UCSD, which was replete with speakers, exhibits and imagery that demonized and delegitimized Israel and her supporters, was sponsored by 18 academic departments and administrative units on that campus. (Dr. Jorge Mariscal, a UCSD professor of literature, gave a glowing testimonial of the event, writing on the MSA’s website that he had rarely seen “a more sophisticated and tempered demonstration of activism.” Interestingly, soon after writing this Professor Mariscal was appointed to the President’s Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion). This year, the UCSD-MSA’s “Israel Apartheid Week,” which included a 60-foot long “Apartheid Wall” and speakers well-known for their antisemitic rhetoric, was sponsored by UCSD’s Cross Cultural Center and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

    In June 2011, a few weeks after the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union presented their week of events demonizing Israel and featuring speakers who advocate boycotting and eliminating the Jewish state, that organization was given an award for “demonstrating a commitment to transforming structures of inequality and injustices through reflection and action” by the UCI Office of the Dean of Students.

    In June 2011, an event entitled “Teach-in on Islamophobia” took place at UCSC, organized and co-sponsored by two academic units and several student groups, including the UCSC Muslim Student Association and the Olive Tree Initiative. The speakers at the event, who were well-known for their anti-Israel animus and activism, blamed the Jews for Islamophobia and used language that demonized the Jewish state and Jews.  A large table set up at the event contained materials advertising and promoting the U.S. Boat to Gaza, one of the boats participating in the “Freedom Flotilla II,” whose organizers had ties to terrorist organizations including Hamas.  Sitting at the table and handing out a personal letter encouraging students to endorse the U.S. Boat to Gaza was a UCSC college administrator, who was to be among the passengers on the boat. In response to a letter sent to UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal by the Zionist Organization of America, which raised serious and legitimate concerns about the event, UCSC Counsel Carole Rossi defended the faculty and administrators who organized the event, and showed no concern at all for its anti-Jewish content or the effect it would have on Jewish students.
    These examples show that UC administrators not only ignore intolerant and abusive behavior directed against Jewish students, they also condone, award, and even engage in it.

    4) Finally, we hope you can see that the information upon which the AMCHA Initiative has based its campaign is not at all “out-dated,” nor are we “completely uninformed.”  Sadly, your false characterization of us, and your unwillingness to fairly consider our concerns or their importance to the California Jewish community, suggests a dismissiveness and lack of sensitivity that many of us find deeply disturbing.
    Please understand that the Jewish community of California will not remain silent while Jewish students are being harassed and intimidated on UC campuses. We hope that you and all other UC administrators will commit yourselves to addressing the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry forthrightly, publicly, and immediately.

    Sincerely,

    Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz
    tbenjami@ucsc.edu
    Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles
    lbeckwit@ucla.edu
    CC: University of California President Mark Yudof
              University of California Chancellors
    BCC: Members of the Jewish community

     

  13. Jerry Waszczuk

    http://youtu.be/lewPtNHJNb4?list=UUCJyOcW1sW_y0Qw2Iqw6pjQ

    From: Jaroslaw Waszczuk [mailto:jjw1980@live.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 10:59 AM
    To: rjloessb@ucdavis.edu; Ralph J Hexter
    Cc: help@ucdavis.edu; mbmclaughlin@ucdavis.edu; racabral@ucdavis.edu; cmbuckwald@ucdavis.edu; regentsoffice@ucop.edu; president@ucop.edu; julie.freischlag@ucdavis.edu; david.acosta@ucdavis.edu; chancellor@ucdavis.edu; charles.robinson@ucop.edu; pgblando@ucdavis.edu; earauchway@ucdavis.edu; gpblakeley@ucdavis.edu; aebrownstein@ucdavis.edu; clpenny@ucdavis.edu; creynoso@ucdavis.edu; Judith.Rosenberg@ucop.edu; dan.dooley@ucop.edu; Joseph.Epperson@ucop.edu; Sheryl Vacca
    Subject: Membership on a UC Davis Administrative Advisory Committee for the 2015-16 year

    Dear Vice Chancellor-Zahl:

    I am wondering if I can apply for membership on the UC Davis Administrative Advisory Committee as a UC Retiree for the 2015–16 year. I would like to participate in the Staff Diversity Committee, which includes the UC Davis Principle of Community.

    The UC Davis Principle of Community was a great idea, but it was converted into a “witch hunt” tool to hunt down Christians, Jews and anybody who points out misconduct, abuse of power or waste of university resources by UC Davis’s administration and management. Under the umbrella of the Principle of Community, a witch hunt is being carried out via the Chancellor’s Office, the UC Davis Chief Compliance Office and the HR offices at the UC Davis campus and the UC Davis Health System.

    UC Davis’s anti-Christian policy was authored and implemented by Associate Executive Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed, who characterized Christians as oppressors of non-Christians. I believe that Rahim Reed together with  Katehi have  implemented this witch hunt Islamic State anti-  Christians policy in late 2010 or January 2011. Rahim Reed and UC Davis’s official “crucify Christians policy” was officially revoked after protest by the Alliance Defense Fund (see attached letter) in February 2011 but is still in use, and I was hit by Rahim Reed’s witch hunters in April 2011. Still, Rahim, Katehi, Robinson and many others have not given up trying to nail me to the cross.

    Rahim is an Arabic male name that is short for Abdu r-Raḥīm—“servant of the Merciful.” Ar-Raḥīm—“the Merciful” is one of the names of God in Islam, while raḥīm means “merciful,” from the root R-Ḥ-M.

    This policy was revoked and was not officially incorporated into UC Davis’s “witch hunt” non- policy entitled the Principle of Community. As I stated previously, the fallen angel in Milton’s Paradise, Mr. Rahim Reed, together with Linda Katehi, Wendi Delmendo and others have converted the UC Davis Principle of Community into their own evil empire of destruction and misery for over four thousand  UC Davis employees, as it was outlined  in the 2014 UC Davis Climate Survey.

    The UC Davis Principle of Community was converted by the Servant of the Merciful Rahim Reed into a fascist ideology mixed with communist ideology and Islamic Sharia law to fulfill UC Davis’s corrupted administrative needs and provide protection.

    Rahim Reed’s perfect credentials combined with Katehi’s power to create an evil empire are no surprise anymore.

    Rahim received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and Black studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his legal studies in 1986 and holds a juris doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law. He is also an active member of several national organizations and has made many presentations to groups on topics of diversity education and building inclusive communities.

    I think that the police should look a little deeper into Katehi and Rahim Reed’s ideology to find the perpetrators who are painting swastikas on the buildings throughout the UC Davis campus.

    Best Regards,

    Jerry Waszczuk

    To be continued

    ***************************************************************************************************************************************************

    From: Interim Assistant Executive Vice Chancellor Robert Loessberg-Zahl [mailto:ithelp@ucdavis.edu]
    Sent: Monday, February 09, 2015 4:36 PM
    Subject: Call for Applications for Membership on 2015-

    MEMBERS OF THE UC DAVIS COMMUNITY

    I encourage you to become involved in issues affecting the UC Davis community by applying for membership on a UC Davis Administrative Advisory Committee for the 2015-16 year. The Committees address topics such as arts, child care, diversity, student services, and research, and provide an opportunity for all constituencies – Academic Senate and Academic Federation members, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students – to participate in governance of the campus.

    As a member of an Administrative Advisory Committee, you can ensure that your constituency’s perspectives are well represented in the Committee’s recommendations to the administration. You can also help representatives from other constituencies understand your interests and concerns and, in turn, learn more about their views of campus issues.

    The selection of members is guided by the interests and experience of the applicant, the recognition that each committee should involve inexperienced as well as experienced members, and the necessity to provide balance within the committee to achieve a broad base for administrative decision making. It is our wish, as expressed in our statement in the Principles of Community, to receive applications from persons representing the wide range of diversity – gender, ethnicity, academic discipline, areas of knowledge – that exists at UC Davis.

    I hope you will participate in this advisory system. An application form, a list of the committees with brief descriptions of their activities, and other information are available on the web at http://aac.ucdavis.edu/. Please submit your application by Monday, March 9, 2015.

    Robert Loessberg-Zahl
    Interim Assistant Executive Vice Chancellor
    University of California, Davis

  14. Jerry Waszczuk

    TIMOTHY J. SWICKARD Esq.
    770 L St., Suite 950
    Sacramento, California 95814
    Telephone: (916) 449-3999

    February 16, 2011

    Linda Katehi, Chancellor University of California, Davis Fifth Floor, Mrak Hall One Shields Avenue
    Davis, CA 95616
    chancellor@ucdavis.edu
    Rahim Reed
    Associate Executive Vice-Chancellor
    University of California, Davis
    Office of Campus Community Relations
    412 Mrak Hall
    One Shields Avenue
    Davis, CA 95616
    rreed@ucdavis.edu

    RE: UC Davis’s Discriminatory “Non-Discrimination” Policy

    Dear Chancellor Katehi and Vice-Chancellor Reed:

    I write on behalf of over twenty-five students in the engineering, medicine, law, chemistry and other departments and schools, undergraduate and graduate at UC Davis concerning the school’s policy prohibiting discrimination against all other religious faiths, while explicitly authorizing it against Christians. I am also an allied attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization dedicated to defending the First Amendment rights of students and faculty on university campuses. Because the UC Davis policy explicitly permits invidious discrimination against them, my clients wish to remain anonymous at this time. I ask that you immediately correct this unconstitutional policy, extending to Christian students the same treatment received by adherents of other religious beliefs at UC Davis.

    UC Davis prohibits discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, religion. See http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/coordrev/ucpolicies/aos/ucappc.html and http://occr.ucdavis.edu/poc/index.html. However, it also defines “religious discrimination” as follows:

    Religious/Spiritual Discrimination – The loss of power and privilege to those who do not practice the dominant culture’s religion. In the United States, this is institutionalized oppressions toward those who are not Christian.
    (emphasis added). http://occr.ucdavis.edu/poc/glossary.html.
    As such, UC Davis policy, while purporting to prohibit religious discrimination broadly, actually exempts Christians from its coverage. Under this definition it would be an affirmative defense to a charge of religious discrimination for the perpetrator to demonstrate that the victim was a Christian. Students have recently been asked to reaffirm their commitment to the “Principles of Community,” which includes in its Glossary the definition “Religious/Spiritual Discrimination” noted above. Thus, in reaffirming their commitment to the “Principles of Community, U.C. Davis students have agreed to discriminate only against Christians.

    It is patently clear that UC Davis’s definition of religious discrimination is blatantly unconstitutional under both the Federal and California State Constitutions. The policy singles out certain faiths for official school protection from discrimination while denying the same protection to others solely on the basis of their particular religious views. This official U.C.D. policy violates the Establishment, Free Speech, Free Exercise, and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. Larsen v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 245-46 (1982) (denominational preferences violate the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses); R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377, 391-92 (1992) (government engages in viewpoint discrimination where it “license[s] one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensberry rules.”); Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 540-47 (1993) (law that prohibited activity by one religion but permitted similar activity by others for secular and other religious reasons violated the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses).

    This policy also violates Article 1, Section 4 of the California Constitution, which guarantees the “Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference.” In addition, this policy violates the 1959 Unruh Civil Rights Act that specifically outlaws discrimination based on age,-sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. The Unruh Civil Rights Act is codified at California Civil Code section 51.

    Moreover, the UC Davis policy is simply nonsensical given the environment on most University campuses where Christian students, if anything, are among the most likely to be subjected to discrimination because of their faith. A recent study of over 1200 faculty showed that professors admitted to having a significant bias against Christian students, particularly evangelicals. In fact, 53% admitted to having negative feelings about evangelical students solely because of their religious beliefs. http://www.jewishresearch.org/PDFs2/FacultyReligion07.pdf (see pages 79-81). And Mormon and Catholic students did not fare much better.

    It is in contradiction to established fact to suggest, as this definition does, that Christianity is “the dominant culture’s religion” at any public university or here at UC Davis. Then candidate Obama asserted that “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian  nation.” Whatever the merit of this claim, it is nonsense to think that Christianity is “dominant” on any public university campus — UC Davis included. Indeed, a 2004 Harvard Institute of Politics poll indicated that only 35% of college students call themselves “born again,” and 22% identify as evangelical Christians. A 2000 study of teens by the Barna Research Group found that only one out of four (26%) claim to be “committed to the Christian faith.” Barna Research Group, Ltd., “Teenagers Embrace Religion but Are Not Excited About Christianity,” January 10, 2000, http://www.barna.org. These are not statistics of dominance.

    As Mr. Reed is aware, this is not the first time that a Christian student has written to him about the climate of discrimination at U.C. Davis and requesting that his office work to provide protections for Christian students of the kind that the OCCR provides to others. It appears that Mr. Reed not only failed to take these concerns seriously, but even approved a U.C. Davis-wide policy of sanctioning discrimination against Christian students as evidenced by the definition of “religious/spiritual discrimination” on his own Office’s website.

    The purpose of a nondiscrimination rule is to prevent irrelevant factors from being used to punish or exclude persons from certain privileges. And specifically, religious nondiscrimination rules ensure that religious students will be protected in the often hostile university environment. Certainly, there are situations in which the application of the nondiscrimination rule might injure the First Amendment rights of others. For example, there will certainly be times when an atheist or Muslim student organization’s expression would be negatively impacted if they were required to permit a Christian student to serve in a leadership position, vote to determine the group’s position on an issue, etc. An atheist student group led by one of my clients would clearly cease to be the same organization. Nondiscrimination policies, like any other policies, should be applied rationally and taking into account the unintended consequences that might flow from an overly literal and rigid application of the text. UC Davis clearly understands this as it permits fraternities and sororities, club sports, and single sex singing groups to discriminate on the basis of gender and other groups to exclude persons from leadership or membership if they do not share the organization’s political or ideological views. So should UC Davis permit groups to deny certain privileges or posts to Christian students in order to protect those groups’ First Amendment rights.

    However, the outright exclusion of Christian students from UC Davis’s policy is unconstitutional. Therefore, I ask that you immediately revise the definition of “religious/spiritual discrimination” so that UC Davis’s protections also apply to Christian students. As my clients are presently exposed to invidious discrimination at UC Davis solely because of their religious beliefs, I ask that no later than Wednesday, February 23 you confirm this change and undertake appropriate educational efforts to ensure that UC Davis faculty and staff are informed that the school’s policies also protect Christian students from discrimination.

    Sincerely,

    Timothy J. Swickard, Esq.

  15. Tia Will

    So let’s see, so far we have :

    1. Christians claiming that they are victimized or not afforded the same protections as others.

    2. Jews claiming that they are victimized or not afforded the same protections as others.

    3. Muslims claiming that they are victimized or not afforded the same protections as others.

    We also have seen instances in which hateful speech and actions have been directed against Christians, Jews, and Muslims by members of the other groups. We have both historical and relatively recent examples of suppression of one group by members of the other groups with various rationals being given for the same types of hateful and murderous activities. Much of these activities on all sides either site their god, or their religion, or “justice” as the basis for their hateful acts. Many of these activities are justified as “defense”.

    And we have some posters on this blog claiming that one or another of these groups is more righteous in these same types of activities than members of another group.

    And some wonder why those of us feel that religion and feelings of religious or ethnic superiority are responsible for much of the strife and conflict in the world ! Gee, I wonder how we could possibly see it that way.  I guess not understanding how one can claim membership in a “peaceful religion” and then support the right of certain religions to oppress others leads to the conclusion that I am as one poster put it ” a godless liberal”.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      All of this diversity, a black President, etc., and things seem worse than under the previous Presidents or generations.

      I’m all for correcting past wrongs. But I think it is pretty clear that the ethnic studies majors ramp up the racial grievances rhetoric and gamesmanship. And Allah Akbar shouted on campus, Sharia Law now a major player at UC Davis?

      1. Davis Progressive

        ” things seem worse than under the previous Presidents or generations.”

        things seems to be worse?  no.   the only thing that has really changed is that we are not sweeping stuff under the rug.  for instance, obama gave voice to blacks who believe they’ve been racially profiled.  that wasn’t something that just started happening, but it’s the first time a president gave voice to it.  you’re conflating silence on issues with lack of issue.

        i also think you’re blowing this stuff out of proportions, someone shouting allah akbar on campus is not a crisis and not an indication that sharia law is now a major player at ucd.  would you be offended if a christian shouted, praise the lord!?  i doubt it.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          The theory of “driving while black” has been discussed repeatedly for at least two decades, it was no hidden theory. The same allegation was made in New Jersey, and a scientific study with high speed cameras revealed that the reason African Americans got more tickets wasn’t b/c of “driving while black”, it was because they sped more often! (Our GOP President tried to bury these findings.)

          In fact, before the President even knew the facts about the famous professor who had the police called on him (I think it was  a Harvard prof), Obama chimed in and said “the police acted stupidly”.  He then had to backtrack as the story came out that the professor was mouthy and combative with police.

          Further, test scores for African American youth rose substantially in some elementary grades under George Bush Jr.’s NCLB, and he hired Colin Powell and Condi Rice with minimal fanfare over the ethnicity. Solid people with solid credentials. When he saved millions of lives in Africa he also did it with not much fanfare or back slapping. Substance over style.

          Recent national polls agree with my assessment.

          We’ll see how things evolve, we did have two reported instances of hate graffiti, including one swastika. I hope things calm down.

        2. Davis Progressive

          “The theory of “driving while black” has been discussed repeatedly for at least two decades, it was no hidden theory”

          since i’ve practice criminal law since the early 80s (that would be four decades if you’re counting), i can tell you driving while black goes back before my time.  my point has nothing to do with the specifics of the president’s claim and has to do with the focused discussion on it.  these issues are not happening more, they simply are getting more coverage at the moment.

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