Findings and Recommendations

Released February 12, 2008

Click here to download the complete 34 page OC Independent Task Force Report on UC Irvine

FINDINGS
1. The acts of anti-Semitism are real and well documented. Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech has been unrelenting. For one week each year, UCI, a Public University has been turned into a vehicle to promote historical  distortions, partially through the use of hateful anti-Semitic symbolisms, while the administration has remained silent or when pressed, issued generalizations about hate speech that does not name the hate speakers.  This leads to the impression that there is equivalent hate speech from the Jewish students when there is not.  Furthermore, such hate speech and gross distortions have an effect on non-Jewish students as well.  These students can easily be led to accept the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist conclusions portrayed by the Muslim Student Union  and the invited hate speakers.

2. The University administration has rightfully argued that it cannot and will not stifle free speech on campus. If the antidote to abhorrent speech is more speech then it is beholden upon the University to open speech to public scrutiny. Assemblyman Chuck Devore visited the campus on several occasions and was an outspoken critic of the campus policy disallowing the recording of speakers at MSU events. Largely as a result of his efforts, the University has finally agreed to permit the taping of speakers thus allowing public access and public scrutiny to the ideas of hate speakers.  The Chancellor is to be commended for this recent change of policy on the part of the University.

3. A pall of orthodoxy has befallen much of the academic program at the University. The anti-Israel bias on the part of many in the faculty provides a fertile environment for the MSU and its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions.

4. Some faculty members have used their classroom as a forum for their anti-Israel agenda.

5. The Muslim Student Union is agenda driven and unchecked by the bounds of propriety. It allies and identifies itself with terrorist groups that are enemies of the United States.

6. The University has failed to educate its Muslim students about citizenship and American values.

7. The Chancellor has failed to exercise his moral authority as an educator and leader by abrogating his leadership responsibilities. The boundaries of rational and reasonable discourse by constituencies that have differing positions on emotional issues have not been established.

8. There is no indication that the University is at all concerned about the disconnect between campus values and the values of the greater society.

9. The major Jewish organizations, with few exceptions (The Zionist Organization of America, Stand with Us, American Jewish Congress) have not held the University and its leadership accountable for its failure to support an environment conducive to all students. The Jewish Federation, Anti-Defamation League, Hillel, and the American Jewish Committee, the organizations the Jewish community look to for leadership on these matters, have not effectively represented the Jewish Community or Jewish students at UCI.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The Chancellor should publicly identify and denounce hate speech when it occurs so as not to insinuate an equivalence where there is none.

2. Students with a strong Jewish identity should consider enrolling elsewhere unless and until tangible changes are made. It is incumbent on UCI to make itself a hospitable environment, not the Jewish students.

3. Community leaders both secular and religious should hold the University responsible for its actions, non-actions, and programs.

4. The University has an obligation to inform the community of steps taken to ensure the integrity of its academic program.

5. The University’s Board of Regents should look into the various selective applications of UCI Rules and Regulations, and investigate the actions of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in his capacity as an impartial arbiter and just enforcer of University Rules and Regulations.

6. The University should refrain from selective enforcement of its rules and regulations, including its “Code of Conduct.” If it does not intend to enforce its regulations, the University should eliminate them. Those that remain should be enforced uniformly and fairly.

7. The Jewish organizations and the Jewish benefactors should be aware that their continued support of an anti-Semitic campus is, in the end, counterproductive and works against their own interests.  They should hold the University and its Chancellor accountable.

8. All Student organizations should have a faculty/staff advisor.

9. UCI Resident Assistants should be fully versed on procedures for filing complaints and be available assist students to seek redress of grievances.

10. All incoming students should have a course on appropriate civil discourse in a democratic society. At the least, some instruction in this area should be included in the orientation for all new students.

11. Community leaders should meet periodically with the administration and engage in discussion that will lead to better understanding of the status of the University and enhanced accountability.

12. During UCI Orientation Week, new Jewish students who attend UCI should be invited by Jewish Organizations to attend an orientation, where they can be briefed on the support structures within the local community, as well as procedures to follow when confronted with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel behavior on campus.

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