Donate Shop Register


UCLA Office of the Chancellor - statement about blacklisting students who go to Israel
May 18, 2014

This comes on the heals of students being asked to sign a pledge that they will not participate in trips to Israel if they are elected to student council. 

UCLA logoOffice of the Chancellor
To the Campus Community:
Over the past week, many of our students, as well as friends off campus, have communicated their concerns over a pledge that candidates for our student government were asked to sign prior to last week's elections. Heated exchanges have occurred over the issue and have unfortunately left some feeling disrespected or targeted because of their views or affiliations. Certain news reports and other communications through social media have also mischaracterized aspects of the situation, fueling an unhealthy discourse that is harmful to our campus climate. Robust debate is vital to democratic learning, but it can never exclude common sense, civility and tolerance for those who disagree.
First, let me set the record straight on the facts, as we understand them: Students active in student government, who have varying views on Israel—Palestine issues, have participated in the recent past in free trips to the Middle East organized by Jewish groups. Prior to the recent student elections, some student groups asked candidates to sign a pledge promising not to go on such trips. The pledge was not sanctioned, proposed or required by our current student government or the university administration. No one was barred from running for office, participating in the election or serving on the council as a result of not signing the pledge. Some students signed, others did not. Both signatories and non-signatories won offices. The decision to circulate this pledge and the choice to sign it or not fall squarely within the realm of free speech, and free speech is sacrosanct to any university campus.
Second, 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.
Today I am calling on our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to explore how to better foster political dialogue that is respectful, productive and focused on understanding rather than division. UCLA faculty, students and staff deserve an open environment that encourages vigorous debate without disparagement.
Sincerely,
Gene D. Block
Chancellor
Other stories
4/20/2018
Barnard College students voted this week in favor of the institution`s divestment from eig...
4/20/2018
StandWithUs curriculum connects middle school students with Israel. ...
4/20/2018
A day before Israel`s 70th Independence Day, the student government at Barnard College pas...
4/20/2018
Sticky arms and face from three popsicles too many....
4/20/2018
Coming your way: hate-filled rallies across the nation...
4/19/2018
StandWithUs condemns the passage of a discriminatory referendum at Barnard College. ...
4/19/2018
As expected, the weekly Hamas-led Gaza riots continued on April 13, with one Palestinian r...
4/19/2018
Students at a Texas university showed their support for Jewish students and Israel late la...
4/19/2018
On the morning of April 17, 2018, the management of StandWithUs opened the trading on the ...
4/19/2018
Nearly two-thirds of Barnard College`s student body voted to ask the administration to div...
4/19/2018
StandWithUs is outraged by anti-Semitic remarks made during public comment at a meeting of...
4/17/2018
A law designed to fight on campus anti-Semitism passed as part of South Carolina`s state b...
4/16/2018
Remembering an unusual Righteous Among the Nations who saved thousands in the Shoah ...
4/16/2018
“Anti-Semitism, and the forces that have led to its resurgence, are not representati...
4/16/2018
The last time the Israeli flag flew on the Temple Mount was for a very brief time after th...
4/13/2018
South Carolina passes legislation protecting students from antisemitic acts on campus. ...
4/12/2018
Hundreds attended the Leaders of Tomorrow gala March 15 ...
4/11/2018
StandWithUs Joins Nationwide Coalition Celebrating 70 Years of Israel`s Modern Statehood, ...
4/11/2018
A video surfaced on Monday depicting the shooting of a Gazan man with IDF soldiers celebra...
4/11/2018
“Hi! I`m Rebecca, I go to Houston Baptist University, and I`m not Jewish”...

 

About Us
Get Involved
Resources
Shop For Israel
Social Media
StandWithUs Websites