REQUEST FOR ACTION BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 
 
All requests may be typed and submitted to the Executive Vice President no later 5:00 p.m. Thursday in order to be included in the agenda for the following Tuesday. The Executive Vice President reserves the right to delay the Request for Action to a later Council session if the Executive Vice President feels the agenda for the next schedule meeting is full.
 
Item Number: 74 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-61
Author:   Shadi Jafari   Second:  Naaila Mohammad
Synopsis: Condemning Islamophobic Hate Speech at the University of California
Date of Presentation: April 25, 2013
 

WHEREAS, the University of California has identified the issue of campus climate as a priority for administration, staff, and students across the UC system; and,

WHEREAS, the UC prides itself on welcoming students from any race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, yet pockets of racism and hate still exist on this campus which makes the UC an unwelcoming experience for certain communities; and,

WHEREAS, Islamophobia is defined as the irrational fear of Islam, Muslims, or anything related to the Islamic or Arab cultures and traditions; and,

WHEREAS, since September 11, 2001, Islamophobia has become the latest “hazing” technique across the United States and has created a chilling effect for Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians  in their communities, work-environments, and campuses; and,

WHEREAS, according to a Gallup Study, 60% of Muslim Americans say that Muslims face prejudice from Americans [1]; and,

WHEREAS, 48% of Muslim Americans say that they have personally faced racial or religious discrimination, which is on par with Hispanic Americans (48%), and African Americans (45%), while 54% of Arab Americans say they have experienced this type of discrimination[2]; and,

WHEREAS, since 2006, Muslim students have been targeted for surveillance by the FBI in Orange County, who said that they are paying particular attention to Muslim students at UC Irvine and UCLA; and,

WHEREAS, this surveillance is occurring on the East Coast as well, with the New York Police Department surveillance of Muslim students at Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Rutgers, New York University, and Brooklyn College [3]; and,

WHEREAS, these racist and selective surveillance procedures are justified by figures in mainstream media, such as David Horowitz, who defines the core mission of the MSA to “advance the Islamic Jihad against the Jews and Christians of the Middle East, and ultimately against the United States”, and,

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[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx#2

[2] http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx#2

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/nyregion/nypd-muslim-monitoring-and-a-climate-of-fear.html?_r=0

 WHEREAS, attempts to mischaracterize and chill Palestinian activism have occurred on Berkeley’s campus, with a lawsuit filed in July 2011(later dismissed in court) against the UC Regents and President Mark Yudof containing extremely Islamophobic and anti-Arab rhetoric referring to Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslims Students Association as “anti-Semitic” and “pro-terrorist”; and,


WHEREAS, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that “the more publicly active SJP may be understood as the more militant arm of the outwardly benevolent MSA” and that SJP, MSA, and MSU all “fund terrorism” and are tied to terrorist groups; and,

 

WHEREAS, the events following the Irvine 11 in 2009, in which 11 Muslim students engaged in peaceful protest where not only arrested, but also tried by the Orange County District Attorney of charges, such as “conspiracy;” and,

 

WHEREAS, the University failed to protect the rights of its Muslim students in Irvine, in their right not only to express their voice against Ambassador Oren at the time, but also failed to protect the 11 students from being criminalized, and tokenized as the “Muslim case[1];” and,

 

WHEREAS, the Irvine 11 case and the events on UC Berkeley’s campus, not only reveal administration’s lack of understanding of the constant xenophobic discourse and diminished campus climate that Muslim students face in the UC system, but the lack of effective action and condemnation against such acts indirectly keep Islamophobic rhetoric around in the academic space; and,

WHEREAS, more recently, UC Santa Cruz lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin has been responsible for inciting racist and Islamophobic rhetoric by claimings that students in the MSA and SJP are “...generally motivated by very strong religious and political convictions, they have a fire in their belly, they come to the university, many of them are foreign students who come from countries and cultures where anti-Semitism is how they think about the world … These are not your ordinary student groups like College Republicans or Young Democrats. These are students who come with a serious agenda, who have ties to terrorist organizations.”; and,

WHEREAS, claims such as those cited above create an unsafe and divisive environment for Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian students, and others who may be perceived as being of similar descent,  and these claims are completely opposite to the values of a premier university system; and,

WHEREAS, the President of the University of California, Mark Yudof, is responsible for advocating for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation; and,

WHEREAS, the University of California is no place for hateful and inflammatory rhetoric and holds its students, faculty, staff, and affiliates to higher standards that promote a positive and inclusive campus climate; therefore,

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that ASUCI condemn the remarks of lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and those described in the above-mentioned lawsuit as hateful and inflammatory; and,

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that ASUCI urge President Mark Yudof to condemn these inflammatory, hateful, and racist assumptions by UCSC lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin against Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian, and Palestinian activists; and,

 

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that ASUCI urges Chancellor Drake to implement more comprehensive cultural competency and awareness for students, staff and especially faculty, that emphasizes the growing xenophobic and Islamphobic rhetoric in the academic space; and,

 

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that ASUCI urges Chancellor Drake and Vice Chancellor Parham to increase efforts to produce more cultural diversity training for both student organizations and faculty; and,

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED, that EVP Andrea Gaspar to write a letter to UCOP condemning the racist and bigoted language by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and President Yudof’s failure to address the matter, as well as passing a similar bill with UCSA; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUCI urge other campuses to pass similar bills in their respective student governments.



[1] http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/01/irvine-11-muslim-students-appeal-conviction-in-free-speech-case.html

 
Referred to: Committee on:
Vote Required: FINAL VOTE: Passed YEA: 14 NAY: 0  ABS: 0
 
THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFONIA, IRVINE ON THE DATE OF 04/30/2013 HAS TAKEN ACTION ON THIS LEGISLATION.    
   
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Executive Vice President, ASUCI      Verification of Executive Cabinet