OC Jewish Experience

The official blog of Jewish Orange County

New UC Irvine Protesters Swell Past 800; Students Stop Traffic on Campus Dr.

In yet another wave of protests on the UC Irvine campus on Thursday, a group of more than 400 students took to the streets to make their latest demands heard.

The Orange County Register is reporting that more than 800 students have taken part and have stopped traffic in areas around the campus.  The article also states that marches entered one of UCI’s libraries and started shouting while other students tried to block an entry at a different library.

While Irvine has been at the center of multiple protests regarding free speech and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s visit in February, today’s events appear to be more closely related to nation-wide protests in dozens of states regarding fee increases.

The students are currently in the ninth week of class with finals starting the week of March 15th.

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March 4, 2010 Posted by | UC Irvine | Leave a comment

UC Irvine Academic Senate Issues Letter to Students

The UC Irvine Academic Senate Issued The following letter was issued to UCI students via email today, March 4, 2010.

A Statement by the UC Irvine Academic Senate Cabinet regarding the events of February 8, 2010

The events surrounding Ambassador Oren’s February 8th speech on campus has placed UCI in a world-wide spotlight. In the wake of extensive editorials, letters, phone calls, and e-mails to offices and individuals on campus, the Academic Senate would like to reaffirm the fundamental principles by which we operate. These values at UCI include open access to information and the opportunity to engage in lively debate within a context of mutual respect. The UC mission statement says “the distinctive mission of the University is to serve society as a center of higher learning, providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge” (UC Academic Plan 1974-78). The open exchange of ideas is a crucial component of building knowledge and understanding. And because public service is one of our three main goals, UC venues serve as valuable public resources and community gathering places. The UCI Academic Senate takes seriously its obligation to help protect UCI as a place where all campus groups have equal access to campus facilities, where they feel free to invite speakers to express their perspectives, and where others with opposing views have an opportunity to express their ideas. In order to realize these goals, we must safeguard invited speakers’ ability to deliver their speeches and protesters’ ability to protest in appropriate ways (i.e. stating a contrary position without preventing the speech from proceeding).

Our system of shared governance gives the Academic Senate, the representative body of the university faculty, the power to exercise control over academic matters (such as courses, admissions and degrees). Although the Senate doesn’t have direct authority over the protection of free speech on campus, our Council on Faculty Welfare is charged to “advise the Chancellor and other officers of the campus administration on matters concerned with the faculty’s welfare, diversity, academic freedom…” In light of this charge, the UCI Council on Faculty Welfare, Diversity and Academic Freedom has developed the following statement:

Council on Faculty Welfare, Diversity, and Academic Freedom (CFW) Statement

The Council on Faculty Welfare, Diversity, and Academic Freedom (CFW) endorses the principle that the free exchange of ideas, especially on subjects where different viewpoints are passionately held, is central to the mission of the university and must be protected and preserved, and that this free exchange of ideas is facilitated and encouraged by an atmosphere of civility. We endorse the principle that all members of the academic community should have the opportunity to protest the words and actions of others as long as these protests do not disrupt or intimidate others in the expression of their views and opinions.

We may disagree with the ideas and perspectives of speakers at UC Irvine, but as members of an academic community dedicated to the examination and debate of issues of importance, we are committed to creating an atmosphere in which the examination of competing ideas can occur without disruption or intimidation. Recent events suggest UC Irvine can do better in this respect.

We endorse Chancellor Drake’s efforts to organize discussions focusing on methods to improve communication and civil dialogue on the campus, and encourage all members of the academic community to support and participate in these efforts. It is important that UC Irvine support actions that allow the expression of different and passionately held opinions while simultaneously creating an atmosphere of free and open debate on contentious issues.

Judith Stepan-Norris, Chair, Academic Senate Alan Barbour,
Chair-Elect, Academic Senate
Mary Gilly, Chair, Council on Academic Personnel
David Pan, Chair, Council on Educational Policy
Bill Parker, Chair, Council on Faculty Welfare
Jennifer Skeem, Vice Chair, Graduate Council
Lyman Porter, Chair, Council on Planning and Budget
John Crawford, Chair, Council on Research, Computing and Libraries
Richard McLeary, Chair, Council on Student Experience
Bruce Berg, Chair, Council on Undergraduate Admissions & Relations with Schools

Endorsed: March 2, 2010

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Free Speech, UC Irvine | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Israeli Soldiers Speak Out in Irvine

Israeli soldiers Inon Tagner and Lior Prossor address OC Community

If you live in Southern California and were in need of something interesting to do last night, you should have been at a program called “Speak Out.”  The free program, put on by The Israel Center & Rose Project of Jewish Federation Orange County, featured two Israeli soldiers who recounted their personal experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) including the 2009 attack on Hamas in Gaza.

They are part of a group that provides video testimony at www.soldiersspeakout.com created by StandWithUs (SWU).

SWU has four soldiers on a campus-community tour in Seattle, Portland, Silicon Valley, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Chicago and Wisconsin.

I was moved by Inon Tagner, one of the soldiers who said att he beginning of the talk, “Today I was at the UC Irvine campus and I was visiting with the students there.  I must tell you after hearing them tell us about what is going on, I think you folks have it worse here than we have in Israel.  Tagner went on to talk about, as a leader for a group of soldiers in Israel, having to attend nine funerals in one day after his unit was attacked defending Israel.  He went on to explain about his experience on the UC Irvine campus today.  “Today, I was accused by a Muslim student, that Israeli’s steal the organs of Palestinians.”

What happened next, at that point he pulled out his wallet for the audience at the Jewish Federation on Wednesday night and showed all of us what he showed the UCI student.  “Why would I steal organs when I am an organ donor and if something should happen to me…..”

He then made his point to the student this way.  Tagner added, ” What if I were to call you a pedophile.  You know someone who harms young children?  The student responded.  That’s absurd, the student replied.  Exactly.  Now you know how I feel about your statement.”

Just as moving as a Palestinian resident among the audience.  He began by getting up and shaking both soldiers hands.  He not only asked questions but made an important comment.  He said, “Everyone needs to start with peace in their home.  Everyone has a responsibility, especially on the Palestinian side — We must educate our kids.”

Enough of me trying to retell the story.  Here are a few short clips from Inon Tagner.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Israel, Israel Defense Forces, UC Irvine | , , , , , | 1 Comment