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When the Hillel Foundation of Orange County dropped its investigation into anti-Semitism at UCI, the task force assembled to do the inquiry was “surprised and shocked,” according to its leader Jesse Rosenblum.
So were we. Even more shocking was when the foundation decided instead to promote Jewish life on campus sometime “over the summer.”
“We wanted to focus more on the campus and improving Jewish life at the university,” said Jeffrey Rips, Hillel’s executive director in Orange County.
That’s nice. But we wouldn’t have had any idea if a reporter hadn’t just asked Hillel officials.
When Hillel officials announced the review early this year they cited “an alarming increase in anti-Semitism” at UCI. Rips at that time put the blame on the Muslim Student Union. That organization jabbed back that the investigation was “an intimidation tactic” to curtail the union’s criticism of Israel.
Those are strong words from both sides. They signal how toxic tensions had grown on campus.
So how is it that the investigation could just fizzle without any sort of an announcement or an explanation? We haven’t even been given any results of the investigation. We expect more from such a well-established leader in the Jewish community.
We’re grateful that the task force has chosen to continue the investigation even without Hillel’s support and hope that the university offers as much support as possible. Clearly there’s something amiss on campus when the task force members have been so adamant about soldiering on with the review.
In related news, UC Irvine officials acknowledged this week that they will no longer support student organizations that want to prohibit the recording of their meetings or events on campus.
Speaking of intimidation tactics, previous Muslim Student Union leaders told event visitors that they cannot record their speakers. They say they want to stop critics from taking comments out of context and using them against the organization.
That’s just bunk. Worse, it’s a trampling of the 1st Amendment, and university officials should have known better.
Posted on October 21, 2007 by rabbiyonah