JPost: Fight UCI Anti-Semitism

Article mentions Task Force:

Fight UC Irvine campus anti-Semitism

Apr. 3, 2008
MICHAL LANDO,  Jerusalem Post correspondent, NEW YORK , THE JERUSALEM POST

A group of students at University of California, Irvine – known as one of the more militant campuses in the country when it comes to anti-Israel activity – took the chancellor to task in a news release this week for failing to adequately respond to the ongoing incidents on campus

The 20 current and former UC Irvine students said they were “deeply concerned about the anti-Semitism at UCI that has been frequently couched as false and hateful attacks on Israel.”

The letter follows a statement by campus Jewish groups that called concern over anti-Semitic activity “exaggerated” and defended the administration’s handling of the situation

The authors of the letter disagree: “We do not believe that UCI Chancellor Michael Drake has exercised his responsibility as an educator and university leader in response to the anti-Semitism,” they stated. Continue reading

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Daily Pilot: Props to UCI task force persistence

EDITORIAL: Props to UCI task force persistence

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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.

Susan Estrich: on Erwin Chemerinsky, Chancellor Drake and anti-Semitism

The Most Corrupt Man In California

Susan Estrich

“…Last February, Hillel of Orange County formed a task force to investigate what it viewed as a troubling number of anti-Semitic speeches and incidents on the UCI campus, including complaints by Jewish students that they were being followed and harassed by their Muslim classmates. That was before UCI’s Intifada week this past spring, which included speakers supporting the terrorist group Hamas and a speech entitled “Zio-Nazis.” That was before the infamous Ward Churchill, defender of the 9/11 attacks, was invited to speak on campus.

This past June, at a meeting attended by hundreds of concerned members of the Jewish community in Irvine, Dr. Drake told one parent, whose children don’t want to attend UC Irvine because of the virulent expressions of hatred, not to worry because these incidents “are not every other day. It’s a couple times a year.” Asked why he didn’t exercise his own right to free speech to “speak directly to statements made on campus” (as former Harvard President Lawrence Summers did when he opposed calls for divestment from Israel by terming such actions “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent”), Dr. Drake ducked. “We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”

Read the commentary here: the-most-corrupt-man-in-california.html

Task Force cited as reason for Drake Town Hall meeting with the Jewish community

UCI chief meets with Jewish groups

Chancellor encourages community involvement against incidents of perceived hate speech on campus.

By JORGE BARRIENTOS

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

IRVINE – UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.

Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.

“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”

The meeting comes after a February decision by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, a Jewish group, to form a task force to investigate what it called “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.

Drake, who maintained throughout the night that presentations on campus sponsored by Muslim student groups constituted free speech, was invited by several Orange County Jewish groups.

Here are a few questions, with responses by Drake:

Why is it that you personally don’t exercise your right to free speech and speak directly to statements made on campus?

“We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”

Right now, my kids don’t want to go to your school. With the activity on campus, why should my kids go to your school?

“It’s an outstanding educational institutional. If you talk to our students, they will tell you how much they love their experience here. (These incidents) are not every other day. It’s a couple of times a year. And they’re from people coming from off campus. It just got more media attention.”

Is there a place on campus that does not tolerate anti-group speech on campus?

“There are 26,000 students on campus. I want every student on campus to know that this is their home. I want them to feel secure, and feel that is their home.”

Contact the writer: jbarrientos@ocregister.com or 949-553-2913