Cal Poly Campus Leaders Pass Anti-Discrimination Bill Praised by Jewish Students
Student leaders at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo have adopted an anti-discrimination resolution that Jewish students said may help protect their community.
The “Freedom of Speech and Anti-Discrimination bylaw amendment” was introduced by seniors Noah Krigel and Aliza Herzberg and passed on Wednesday by Associated Students, Incorporated (ASI).
“Jewish students [are] concerned about the rise of antisemitism and anti-Zionism nationally… especially on college campuses, in addition to other forms of xenophobia and discrimination of marginalized communities at Cal Poly SLO,” stated Krigel and Herzberg, both members of the ASI Board of Directors for the College of Liberal Arts. They are also involved with the group Mustangs United for Israel, which is supported by CAMERA.
The bill bars ASI from engaging in discriminatory practice related to a number of protected categories, including race, religion and national origin or ancestry.
Students hope the latter categories will be particularly helpful if they ever confront the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign on campus, which has been denounced as discriminatory toward Jewish and Israeli people.
Krigel and Herzberg said that BDS “would be categorized as a form of discrimination … with this bill.” If the campaign comes to campus, student leaders should “look at this piece of legislation and thoroughly examine whether passing BDS would go against the bylaws of our organization and pose a risk to Associated Students Inc,” they added.
“This is a major victory for our students,” stated West Coast Campus Coordinator for CAMERA Yoni Michanie. “It is a preventive measure to deny any access to the antisemitic rhetoric of the BDS campaign. It not only allows our students to feel safe and included, but it shapes the academic atmosphere needed to have genuine, accurate, and productive conversations about the complexities of the conflict.”
The bill’s passage came about a year after a student group called the Drylongso Collective published a set of demands for the administration, calling for increased “funding for ALL cultural clubs, with the exception of organizations that are aligned with Zionist ideology.”
The demand drew concern from members of the university’s Jewish and pro-Israel community, including Hillel of San Luis Obispo, Chabad of Cal Poly, Mustangs United for Israel, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Alpha Epsilon Pi.