University of California-Santa Cruz Chancellor Urged to Discipline Students Who Disrupted Israeli Independence Day Celebration
The chancellor of University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) has been called on to “deal promptly and swiftly” with the students who disrupted an Israeli Independence Day event on campus last week.
“The freedom of expression of Jewish and pro-Israel students was completely and utterly violated,” Tammi Rossman-Benjamin — a UCSC professor and founder of campus watchdog, the AMCHA Initiative — told The Algemeiner on Monday, after protesters involved in a May 2 demonstration against the school’s administration reportedly caused a more than hour-long scene at a Hillel program celebrating the Jewish state.
According to UCSC Hillel’s executive director, Sarah Cohen Domont, those involved in the Afrikan Black Student Alliance’s (A/BSA) march yelled “F*** Jewish Slugs” and “Free Palestine,” and tore down one of Hillel’s Israeli flags.
Rossman-Benjamin said, “Those responsible have not been held accountable for violating the civil rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students, and the university has not acknowledged or addressed the incident in any way. The chancellor is obliged to act, to use his authority and insist on one standard of behavior for everyone on campus.”
In Rossman-Benjamin’s view, administrators have shown spinelessness in the face of student hooliganism at other campuses, including San Francisco State University, and she lambasted the “failure to properly address the one thing that we should all agree is wrong: behavior that takes away the civil rights of others.”
“If no one is in charge, no one will stop this from happening again and again,” she added.
Last week, after a three-day allegedly illegal occupation of the primary administration hall on campus, A/BSA received the university’s agreement to their demands for “reclamation,” which — according to A/BSA’s manifesto — includes “pushing back against the language of ‘occupation’…such as…the current context of occupation in Palestine.” The demands also included the creation of a “mandatory in-person diversity competency training” course for all new students, to be “reviewed and approved” by A/BSA every two years.
One UCSC community member told The Algemeiner the university’s acquiescence to the demands of the protesters amounted to the “inmates running the asylum.”
A university spokesperson, Scott Hernandez-Jason, told The Algemeiner that after hearing reports of the “alleged antisemitic remarks…campus leaders reached out to Santa Cruz Hillel and scheduled a meeting for further conversation. Our hope is that this conversation will inform how students can work together respectfully in light of their different perspectives.”
“UC Santa Cruz is committed to engaged, respectful dialogue,’ he added. “The free and open exchange of ideas is one of the pillars in our Principles of Community.”