News (USA)

University’s intolerance declaration raises concerns

“We’re hopeful regents come up with a much more adequate statement to address the issue for which the statement was drafted in the first place — which is the alarming incidents of anti-Semitism on UC campuses,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, which fights to end anti-Semitism on campuses.

UC officials declined to comment, saying it is for the Board of Regents to debate at their meeting Thursday.

Jewish organizations say a rash of anti-Semitism incidents last year— including many that made references to Israel — underscore the need for the UC system to take a strong stance against anti-Semitism on its 10 campuses. They included Nazi swastikas splashed on a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis and a student’s credentials being questioned by student government leaders at UCLA for a position on a campus panel because she is Jewish. The student leaders later apologized.

Liz Jackson, an attorney at Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the proposed statement is strong enough.

“But I understand the concerns of free speech advocates,” she said. “I do think it’s dangerous when universities draw the line between what is OK to say and what isn’t.”

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