web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


UCLA SJP ‘Violated Principles of Civility, Respect and Inclusion’

UCLA's Chancellor said about the actions taken by the Students for Justice in Palestine, "just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive."
Powell Library at UCLA

Powell Library at UCLA
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Last week The Jewish Press reported that seven pro-Israel groups wrote to the heads of the California Board of Regents. The pro-Israel groups wanted the officials to reverse the hands-off approach college officials had taken against two shocking anti-Israel initiatives undertaken at the University of California at Los Angeles. The goal of those initiatives is to deprive pro-Israel students of having a voice in their student government. Students for Justice in Palestine, an aggressively anti-Israel group, is behind these initiatives.

The UCLA SJP urged the student judicial board to investigate two members of the student government who had traveled to Israel on trips paid for by pro-Israel groups, in an effort to “prove” that the two were biased and should not have been able to vote on a resolution calling for divestment from investments in Israeli companies. The other initiative called on all students who wished to become a part of the student government to first take a pledge that they wouldn’t travel to Israel with the pro-Israel groups.

The UCLA administration’s initial response to the SJP initiatives was to punt.

UCLA encourages a climate of respectful engagement among students, faculty and staff, even in situations that are very difficult, painful and complex,” the statement said. “Student government functions independently, its proceedings proscribed by a constitution that makes available to students and student groups a process to review issues of alleged conflicts of interest. UCLA encourages all involved in this particular process to deliberate in an honest, respectful and inclusive manner.

That’s nice. But given the students were already past being anything close to respectful and inclusive, the pro-Israel groups were hoping the UCLA administration would take another look at the situation and respond with a little more oomph.

The groups did not have long to wait.

On Friday, May 16, the Chancellor of UCLA, Gene D. Block, issued a letter to the UCLA community. In his letter, Block paid homage to the freedom of speech, and explained that because the pledge was not something called for by the university and that no one was required to sign it, the SJP’s drafting and circulating the pledge was an issue of free speech.

But.

Block also clearly explained that just because someone can say something does not mean they should say it. In other words,

just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive. I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others. I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion. I condemn any remarks on social media or elsewhere that are disrespectful or hurtful.

Political speech that stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups. It does not strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and engagement that sustain a diverse community able to manage differences; it weakens them. If we shut out perspectives, if we silence voices, if we allow innuendo to substitute for reasoned exchange of ideas, if we listen only to those who already share our assumptions, truth gets lost, our intellectual climate is impoverished and our community is diminished.

Passionate debate is to be expected in a civil society, especially in a heated election season, but I am personally concerned any time people feel disrespected, intimidated or unfairly singled out because of their beliefs. Important issues will generate passions, even discomfort — that cannot be avoided. But if the political debate on campus gets more shrill and less nuanced, if hostility replaces empathy, if we see each other as enemies rather than as colleagues trying to figure out how to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, we will all be the lesser for it. It is possible to express strong opinions without belittling others.

For her part, Janet Napolitano, UC president, issued a statement also on the 16th, essentially joining in with Block’s position. She wrote that while freedom of speech is a highly valued principle, “other principles are also highly valued, including the principles of civility, respect, and inclusion.” Napolitano stated quite directly that the actions of the SJP students and their supporters (Jewish Voice for Peace, amongst others) “violate those principles.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “UCLA SJP ‘Violated Principles of Civility, Respect and Inclusion’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Dr. Ben Carson (left) at the Western Wall in December 2014.
Pro-Israel Carson Breathing Down Neck of Pro-Israel Trump
Latest News Stories
Dr. Ben Carson (left) at the Western Wall in December 2014.

Both Carson and Trump are solidly behind Israel, but their real drawing card is that they are not politicians.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley announced he is backing the nuclear deal, leaving Obama only three shy of a veto-proof majority.

A natural gas drill rig in the Mediterranean.

The gas field is far larger than those discovered off Israel’s coast and will supply Egypt with gas for decades.

Israel’s Elbit Systems has racked up two more sales, this time by its cyber security subsidiary Cyberbit to a European police force and an African enforcement agency. Elbit, listed on NASDAQ, did not disclose the amount of the sales. It set up the Cyberbit subsidiary earlier this year to include the cyber and intelligence divisions […]

The regime’s Fars [Read “Farce”] News Agency reported that three Israelis and Jordanians were killed.

Jaffa port is a nice little port with a pleasant promenade to walk around on.

Barenboim rejected from Iran because he’s a “Zionist”. The irony is overwhelming.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, allegedly blocked a DNC resolution supporting the Iran Deal.

Dr. Sacks was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, neurologists.

Arab readers of the Arabic version of Aljazeera responded with astonishment at the restraint shown by an armed Israeli soldier, who was filmed while a group of female villagers physically assaulted him during a rally.

Palestinian Arab terrorists shot and wounded an Israeli driver on the road near Kedumim.

Firefighters in Galilee were able to stop a brush fire on Sunday from spreading into a wildfire.

An Israeli woman has allegedly flown to Turkey to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS.

PM Netanyahu told Italian PM Renzi during weekend talks in Florence Israel does not object to a “civilian” nuclear program in Iran.

The car headed towards a group of four soldiers in Hebron, striking one.

The ruler of the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II, on Thursday issued a formal apology for his country’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Florida Congresswoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, allegedly blocked a DNC resolution supporting the Iran Deal.

Swiss Amb. to Iran Giulo Haas presents his credentials to Iranian Pres. Rouhani

Swiss Ambassador Portrays U.S. and Iran as doves of peace defecating on Netanyahu.

A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site. Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It […]

The Donald and the Cruz together against Iran on Sept. 9 at D.C. rally.

Maloney said that despite the administration’s diplomatic efforts, she could not support the Nuclear Iran Deal.

190 military officers signed a letter to the Congressional leadership, warning against the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Billboards up in Baltimore calling on Maryland Senators Cardin and Mikulski to vote against the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Tehran ‘rejects the existence of any Israeli on Earth’ and told the P5+1 that during JCPOA negotiations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ucla-sjp-violated-principles-of-civility-respect-and-inclusion/2014/05/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: