University of California Addresses Concerns; Protects Jewish Students 

Provost Dorr Affirms that UC Policy Prohibits Graduate Student Instructors From Bringing Hateful Antisemitic Propaganda or the Boycott of Israel Into the Classroom

 

Contact: Nicole Rosen
202-309-5724
[email protected]

 

Santa Cruz, CA, October 7, 2014 – Twelve Jewish advocacy groups applaud University of California (UC) Provost Aimee Dorr and UC administrators for protecting the well-being of Jewish students.

The groups wrote to UC President Janet Napolitano in August after the 83-member joint council of UAW 2865, representing all the graduate student instructors, tutors and readers at the 9 teaching campuses of the University of California, issued a statement outlining the union’s intent to support the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to seek a full-membership vote.

“While we support the right of every member of UAW 2865 to exercise his or her freedom of speech outside of the instructional setting, we are greatly concerned that these union members, who are responsible for instructing undergraduate students on 9 UC campuses, will bring their unscholarly, politically-motivated and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy into UC classrooms, where it certainly does not belong,” wrote the groups in August.

Dorr, on behalf of Napolitano, affirmed for the groups that the University’s Policy on Course Content and other UC policies prohibit academic student employees (ASEs) from engaging in such actions, and she assured the groups that all ASEs would be reminded of these policies and their obligation to adhere to them. Dorr also wrote to all Chancellors notifying them of the UC policies which prohibit ASEs from using their instructional positions to promote political propaganda or advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel.

A letter of appreciation was sent today from the 12 groups to Dorr. A full copy is below.

The AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization, based in California, dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America. AMCHA Initiative’s efforts are bolstered by a network of more than 5,000 members and supporters of the Jewish community — including university alumni, parents and grandparents, rabbis, religious school principals and synagogue members — who have joined together to speak in one voice to ensure the safety and well-being of Jewish students on college and university campuses across the country.
 
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October 7, 2014

Dear Provost Dorr,

Thank you very much for your response to our letter to President Napolitano following the UC Academic Student Employee union’s public declaration of support for the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Unfortunately, too often, instructors misuse the classroom for promoting their own unscholarly, politically-motivated propaganda and advocacy. Jewish students have repeatedly reported to us feeling uncomfortable and even targeted when their instructors bring into the classroom anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy, often with no discernible relationship to the course curriculum. Fearing retaliation for speaking out about the problem or expressing themselves freely about Israel, many Jewish students have suffered this intellectual and emotional harassment in silence.

We were very concerned that this would happen with UC teaching assistants, and are therefore grateful that you confirmed: “The University’s position as to the conduct of ASE’s in the classroom is rooted in its academic policies, including the UC Regents Policy on Course Content”. In addition, we greatly appreciate that you sent a letter notifying every UC Chancellor of the need to inform ASE’s that they are obligated to adhere to several university policies which prohibit them from using their instructional positions to promote political propaganda or advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel. These policies were established for a reason, and we appreciate your reminding the Chancellors to uphold them.

Your actions will go a long way towards ensuring that all students experience a safe and effective learning environment consistent with the high academic standards of the University of California.

Sincerely,
AMCHA Initiative
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Hasbara Fellowships
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Lawfare Project
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center
StandWithUs
Zionist Organization of America
 
Cc: President Napolitano
Board of Regents
Chancellors
Executive Vice Chancellors/Provosts
Executive Vice President Brostrom
Vice President Duckett
Vice President Sakaki
Vice Provost Carlson
Associate Vice President Juarez
Executive Director Tanaka
Director Lee