OC Jewish Experience

The official blog of Jewish Orange County

New York Student Pays Tribute To UC Irvine Students

This letter was recently sent to me via the UC Irvine campus group, Anteaters for Israel.  It originates from a New York-based college student who saw a video UCI students made during a meeting with student government officials and felt compelled to write the following letter.  Certainly worth the read.


Dear UCI Hillel,

I want to thank you for taking a stand against hate speech on college

campuses. The unfortunate events that transpired at your university on

February 8th shook me to the core of my being. It has been my

understanding that the political climate at UCI has not been Israel-

friendly for a while now, but that this was a new level of

intimidation, disrespect and disregard for people’s basic rights and

dignity. Even as far away as NYU (where I am a student), we felt the

impact of that night, and both the action and inaction of the various

parties concerned in the weeks following.

We feared that a terrible precedent had been set, not just that of a

new tactic to lambaste and shut down student-run activities, but that

the infinitesimal reaction on behalf of those who are supposed to

protect UCI students that did take place was encouraging to the

contingent that had invaded another group’s rightful and lawful

activity and stolen their voice away. If this type of activity is not

met with a harsh response, then it spreads; it spreads quickly and


I would like to thank each and every one of you for speaking so

eloquently in defense of your rights as students in front of the ASUCI

Legislative Council . Know that not only did you represent yourselves

with dignity, not only that you represented every pro-Israel student

on every college campus in America, as well as every minority group

who is oppressed on every college campus in America, but that there

are those of us who recognize your immense contribution to our

efforts, peace of mind, security, and above all, dignity.

I cannot personally speak for others, but I do not exaggerate when I

say that the world became a more dangerous place for me on the night

of February 8th. I also do not exaggerate when I say that it became

safer and more secure on March 9th. Thank you for returning to me the

feeling of comfort in my right to speak freely, that I need not

anguish over my personal well-being when I take a stand for what I

believe in, and that the right to discussion and dialogue is not

arbitrarily dispensed by whatever the most numerous and intimidating

faction happens to be, but is fundamentally and universally awarded.

Even more than for your courage, I would also like to personally thank

each and every one of you for delivering your important and passionate

message in such a respectful and decent manner to the student

leadership at UCI. As I watched each of you speak on video, I felt a

sense of pride in being a part of the US-Jewish-collegiate community

with you all. The restraint you showed in the manner and content of

your gracefully and impeccably delivered speeches speaks volumes about

you all, both individually and as a community. It gives me hope to see

you not only refusing to participate in the same kind of tactics that

have been used on you by an inconsiderate and unjust crowd, but

responding to it by exemplifying the standards that you call for,

namely dignity and tolerance. You have become ambassadors for the

Jewish people on par with the greatest in our collective memory.

Thank you for speaking up for me, for making me feel safe, and for

filling me with pride. I wish each of you a wonderful and happy

Passover in whatever way you choose to experience it, and to note that

the Jewish holiday of freedom is especially sweet this year thanks to

each of you.


Joshua Savitt

NYU ’11


April 9, 2010 - Posted by | UC Irvine | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I was present that evening when the Muslim students tried to prevent Ambassadore Oren to speak. Thank you for the beautiful, touching letter you wrote- I have recently relocated from Long Island, N.Y., in fact my brother graduated NYU many years ago, therefore I am aware of the high quality of students attending that University. Again thank you for sending such an eloquent letter.
    Rose Glasser

    Comment by Rose Glasser | April 9, 2010 | Reply

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