A group of 60 elected student officials signed a letter slamming what they called the “lack of transparency” as well as the “marginalization” and “misrepresentation” of students associated with the recent passage of a resolution condemning a measure to combat anti-Semitism on California state campuses.
The 12-member University of California Student Association (UCSA) in September had voted to condemn HR35—a unanimously passed State Assembly resolution urging University of California (UC) schools to squelch nascent anti-Semitism and crack down on anti-Israel demonstrations. UCSA accused of Israel of “illegal occupation” and “racism and Apartheid,” and encouraged “all institutions of higher learning” to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
In a letter dated Oct. 19, the 60 student leaders wrote to UCSA’s board of directors that the anti-HR35 resolution “violated the rights to representation of a significant portion of its campus.”
“Within the Jewish community and across the UC system, there is a wide diversity of opinion with regards to HR 35,” the leaders wrote. “Many members of the Jewish community, and many supporters of this letter, believe HR 35 infringes on our First Amendment rights, and still others believe HR 35 is an encouraging step towards the protection of Jewish students.”
Regarding a “lack of transparency,” the letter noted that UCSA “created a scenario in which there were no public agendas and in which an item could be added to the agenda last minute, leaving no possibility of keeping the students UCSA is charged with representing informed prior to debate [on its resolution].”
Ariel Fridman, vice president of UC Berkeley’s Tikvah Students for Israel and an Emerson Fellow for pro-Israel advocacy and education group StandWithUs, previously told JNS.org that Jewish students learned of the UCSA resolution a mere half-hour before Rosh Hashanah.
“Most students don’t even know that the UCSA exists,” Fridman said. “It was completely not on our radar. So for them to have a meeting and a resolution pass without any of our knowledge took us by complete surprise.”