Presentation made by SWC Campus Outreach Director, Aron Hier to UC Board of Regents Urging the Adoption of the State Department's Definition of Anti-Semitism

Dear Regents Working Group:

You have been appointed by the Chairman of the Regents to consider principles against intolerance. In that capacity it is vital that you accept and embrace a definition of anti-Semitism that reflects the realities of 2015 and would guide the University of California as to how to respond when the world’s oldest hate manifests on a UC Campus.

Too many Jewish families with a spouse, daughter, son, or grandchild at U.S. universities, including in California have heard from a loved one who has experienced or witnessed the bullying, intimidation, and even hate crimes spawned by classic Jew-hatred or by campaigns to demonize and erase the state of Israel.

Campus life in the UC system is supposed to provide an open and safe environment for learning as well as robust debate and dissent on controversial issues. But the UC has often failed to provide such an environment for young people who proudly and outwardly display their pride in being Jewish and in voicing their love for Israel.

The Regents serve in a public capacity on a Board that under the law has the same rights as other government entities to express their opinions on moral issues such as the right of members of the university community to be free from intimidation or attempts to stifle their viewpoints. Without infringing on free speech rights under the First Amendment, the Regents can and should exercise their own right to accept a definition of anti-Semitism that meets the challenge of our times.

Against this backdrop Gov. Janet Napolitano, president of the respected University of California system, recently expressed her personal support for the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism which includes “using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis” or “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

The Regents should respond to the current environment on campus by adopting a definition which recognizes such odious speech and expression for what they are:

By adopting the State Department definition, the Regents will provide UC administrators with the moral guidance they need in protecting the rights and identities of all students.