Tuesday, July 16

USAC President’s office calls for chancellor’s apology


This post was updated on May 24 at 1 p.m.

The undergraduate student government President’s office called for UCLA Chancellor Gene Block to issue a statement of apology Thursday for criticizing students’ efforts to discourage councilmembers from taking free or sponsored trips with certain lobbying groups.

The majority of candidates participating in the Undergraduate Students Association Council election earlier this month signed onto the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics, which asked candidates to refrain from taking trips with certain pro-Israel lobbying organizations and non-student-centered groups if they were elected to office.

On May 16, Block issued a campus-wide email saying that the pledge was an attempt to delegitimize certain organizations’ trips he views as educational and was harmful to communities at UCLA. He added in the email that he thinks the pledge targeted groups with specific political stances.

Before sending out the email, Block did not talk with involved students about the issue and instead learned about the situation from the vice chancellor of Student Affairs.

In its press release Thursday, the USAC President’s office asked for Block to reach out to student groups on campus to talk about the statement and create a “solution-oriented plan.”

USAC President Devin Murphy said he wants to make sure the students’ concerns are heard and that he hopes Block will talk with students about the email statement. 

The press release also said Block misrepresented the pledge in his response and limited the free speech of some students on campus.

“Not only did Chancellor Block act with impulsive haste without engaging in any critical dialogue or conversations, but he also dismissed the legitimate concerns of thousands of students on campus,” the press release said.

In the press release, the USAC President’s office claimed it is important for councilmembers to distance themselves from controversial organizations if USAC wants to best represent the student body. The office also said that councilmembers should still be able to go on trips with external organizations that do not promote discrimination or any form of “systemized prejudiced oppression.”

“Students are warranted in asking their elected officials to accurately represent them, and to criticize these calls compromises the very framework of a thriving democracy,” the press release said.

Internal Vice President Avinoam Baral said he thinks it is disconcerting that Murphy took a stance on a controversial issue without consulting all councilmembers about it first. Baral, who did not sign onto the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics, said he thinks Murphy’s choice to release the statement may represent a dangerous precedent and similar events in the future could undermine the unity of council.

“When you speak on behalf of the office of the president you are still speaking on behalf of the councilmembers and the student body,” Baral said. “I definitely would rather have been consulted beforehand.”

The USAC President’s office press release is one of several that came out recently about the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics and other related issues. Other student groups and University of California President Janet Napolitano have issued statements, and other media outlets have also weighed in on the topic.

Compiled by Samantha Tomilowitz, Bruin contributor.

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  • Guest

    I am extremely disappointed that rather than attempting to mend the current tension on campus revolving the ethics statement. It is hypocritcal that he goes on to quote the daily bruin in saying “We feel that the Chancellor was misguided in his response without student input and should have solicited feedback from all student organizations involved,” yet he didn’t bother to get student input or talk to student organizations who felt alienated and disrespected by the controversial “ethics” statement, which he goes onto supporting.

    • angriestdogintheworld

      AIPAC and other pro-Zionist organizations are racist by definition. It is long past time for Israel to be held to normal standards.

      • Mifty Popularis

        You part of the side that wrote an article holding up Osama Bin Laden to be a freedom fighter?

        http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/ucla-muslim-paper-previously-refered-bin-laden-freedom-fighter

        • angriestdogintheworld

          Nope.

      • Mifty Popularis

        Hamas and other leading groups in the Palestinian territories that deny Israel’s right of existence, believe in a 1 state solution (Palestinian state) and think that Jews should all be killed are the ones who hate.

        Clearly this commenter likewise believes that Israel has no right to exist as a country, since he characterized Zionism as racism. This anti-Semite shows his true colors.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          Well, when you privilege one race over another race, you are a racist. Q.E.D.

  • David

    Un-freaking-believable…Murphy has decided to further the divide on campus, alienate the administration, and promote the agenda of hateful campus groups all in his first week in office! Let’s see some leadership…he can start by rescinding this awful defense of a reprehensible attempt to limit free speech, and follow up with a formal apology to both the Chancellor and the campus community for this blatant display of disrespect and disregard for academic freedom.

    • angriestdogintheworld

      AIPAC is a cancer on American society and a hate group dedicated to dehumanizing Palestinians and stealing their land. The time is long past to divest from all investment in Israel and halt all U.S. aid to Israel until it changes its bigoted policies.

      • Benjamin Gelbart

        no they aren’t

        • angriestdogintheworld

          AIPAC is a hate group.

          • Benjamin Gelbart

            Conversely I can argue that all the groups you support are hate groups too.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            No, you can’t. You don’t know what groups I support.

          • Benjamin Gelbart

            You’re just one of those idiots who has to have the last word always or else you aren’t happy.

      • Friendly Neighbor

        It’s easy to say statements without presenting statistical and factual data. Lions can fly. England is in Africa. Dogs are Najis. See? Easy! But nobody will listen to me. Logic and reasonung should be priority in discussions not shouting out ideas.

      • Mifty Popularis

        The guy who wrote this probably supports terrorist groups like Hamas or Al Qaeda. After all, the Al Talib magazine at UCLA wrote an article holding up Osama Bin Laden as a hero and Al Qaeda as a valiant group. LOL

        • Elon

          Al Talib did that 15 years ago. For a campus newspaper that is ancient history. Talk about some of the more recent crazy things they said, when the current writers were there. I don’t really doubt they haven’t changed, but you must justify such things.

          • Mifty Popularis

            Must I? That’s just one example and it’s pretty damning. Surely you agree that there is some continuity to student newspapers. The President of the Muslim Student Association a few years ago said that she supported Hamas because “there are lots of positives” to the organization. You see the same attitude of the students in those groups today when they are being candid.

          • Elon

            You’re certainly right. They are probably still crazy. But unless we can prove it from recent articles, we leave ourselves vulnerable to accusations that we are being unfair.

          • Elon

            That’s why we need to record the articles they are writing NOW.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          Spoken as a true racist. Supporting people who are victimized by the jackbooted thugs and war criminals of the IDF is not equivalent to supporting terrorism. Your view perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with Zionism, though, so thanks for making my point for me.

          • Mifty Popularis

            Your side is the one calling for genocide and applauding terrorist attacks against Americans. Given that you can’t win on the merits of your arguments, you have to resort to bullying and claims of being offended by everything. The gig is up.

          • Mifty Popularis

            And it’s a racist to call out a partisan group on campus that holds vile pro-terrorist beliefs? Good to know you’re such a coward, hiding behind platitudes.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Opposing Israel’s illegal oppression of Palestinians doesn’t make me in favor of either genocide or terrorist attacks. The fact that you can’t see the difference makes my point perfectly: The thugs and war criminals of the IDF also make no distinction between innocent civilians and terrorists.

          • Elon

            It actually does. Because with sweeping comments like yours, you are obviously not pro-peace, not pro-coexistence, not pro-compromise. You are pro-victory of the most extremist Palestinian segment that wishes to kick all Jews out of the Levant by force if necessary.

          • Elon

            You have NO understanding of the subtleties of the conflict, and you are perfectly happy to remain ignorant. So you as you can continue to rant and deny the rights of anyone else to do the same.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            You are projecting again. It is you who have no understanding of the “subtleties of the conflict.” All you have is the AIPAC propaganda that permeates the U.S. news media. I’m also not ranting nor denying “the rights of anyone to do the same.” Rant away. You’ll still be sadly misinformed.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Nope. Just out of the occupied territories and back to the 1967 borders. The fact remains that the thugs and war criminals of the IDF make no distinction between innocent civilians and terrorists—and neither do you.

          • Elon

            “AIPAC and other pro-Zionist organizations are racist by definition.” Before you actually said Israel will always be racist. By definition. And were very angry about it. And you didn’t mention anything about settlements. Or peace or anything that would give any indication you don’t want Israel gone. You cannot change your tune now.

            And yes, they do make a distinction. They may not always be good at it, but it is undeniable that they do not indiscriminately kill people.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            You have no way of knowing whether I am angry or not. Perhaps you are projecting. That fact that I didn’t “mention” certain things before doesn’t mean I am changing my tune now. I can’t believe someone with such poor reasoning skills actually got into U.C.L.A.

            And no, they don’t make a distinction. They only claim to, as any honest look at their tactics shows perfectly well. They kill 100 Palestinian civilians for every Israeli killed by terrorists from the other side. In fact, Israel is not only guilty of war crimes, it is guilty of state terrorism.

          • Elon

            I read what you mentioned. And what you support. And the lack of facts that you back your statement with. And the ranting involved without actually stating the issues at hand in the conflict.

            And you apparent blissful unawareness that Israeli policy has nothing to do with whether you can attempt to sanction people for engaging in legal behavior, just because you don’t like it. Whether or not you are part of the SJP, you are standing here and condemning the Chancellor for rightly standing up to their bullying and their false accusations.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            You’re projecting again, which is typical of people who think Israel can do no wrong. A U.C.L.A. education is such a waste on people like you.

            Boycotting Israel and AIPAC, its propaganda arm, is exactly what every person of conscience should be doing.

          • Elon

            “You’re projecting again, which is typical of people who think Israel can do no wrong. A U.C.L.A. education is such a waste on people like you.”

            Bwa ha ha ha. I love how you scold for projecting, and then proceed to project onto a IMAX dome throughout the paragraph. Truly you can tell my opinions and thoughts, just because I happen to agree with the law and you are a sore loser.

            You still wear your allegiance on your sleeve, so I don’t have to project anything. You hate Israel. You have no decency. You do not understand bylaws. I get it.

            The point is not what you think people should be doing. The point is illegally attempting to force people to agree with you. Or attempting to profane the UCLA bylaws by making them a proxy in their bully pulpit. Which was what the SJP did. Dana Saifan openly admitted to it. Which was was not one Judiciary Board member acknowledged her complaint.

  • UCLAGuest

    Hope Devin learns sooner rather than later that these tactics don’t fly when you’re an adult or in the real world.

    • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

      Good thing he has made himself too toxic for any real political party too touch. No possible future for any real elected position. Haha, there was even a House of Cards plot point about this.

  • Hypocrite!

    Except didn’t Murphy go on one of these trips himself?

    • Benjamin Gelbart

      He did…..

  • Mifty Popularis

    The irony is that this guy Devin Murphy went on a sponsored trip to Israel by one of these groups. His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • Elon

    And Chancellor Block quickly learns he cannot be neutral and milquetoast. Maybe next time an injustice happens, he will be more forceful in opposing it. Certainly, other people don’t have his sense of restraint.

    • angriestdogintheworld

      The injustice is what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians.

      • Elon

        What the Israelis are or are not doing is irrelevant to whether student leaders have the right to travel there with the people they wish and see things for themselves. Block’s letter and the judicial hearing were only about censorship and false accusations.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          It’s just as relevant as what the apartheid government of South Africa was doing to non-whites. We boycotted South Africa than and should be boycotting Israel now.

          • Elon

            Well, you cannot force people to agree with you. Though I guess it doesn’t stop you for trying.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            I didn’t try a “coercive and divisive tactic.” I’m very happy that someone is standing up to the Israel lobby, though. Israel is a racist state that commits war crimes and state terrorism and uses chemical warfare (white phosphorous, for example) against civilian populations. No decent person should ever go to Israel or give it any support whatsoever. It makes you complicit in war crimes, state terrorism and chemical warfare.

          • Elon

            You are defending a “coercive and divisive tactic.” You cannot restrict the ability of organizations to effectively lobby, just because you hate their message. You cannot bring down false charges upon students who do nothing ethically questionable, just because they perhaps didn’t vote the way you wanted. That is coercion.

            Spread around loyalty pledges. Badmouth council members and baselessly calling them racist. Rant like a madman. Poison the campus atmosphere. All those are divisive tactics. And obviously the Chancellor has the right to call out people who wish to destroy the ability of USAC to actually manage student association and who want to bully students who think different.

          • Elon

            Again the issue is not Israel. The issue is not your beef with AIPAC. The issue is whether the SJP tactics were ethical and whether their complaint had merit. That is a resounding no on both accounts. It was an entirely illegitimate complaint, as not one Judicial Board member stated the law was on their side. It was capricious in that many people have taken such trips or received lobbying from outside groups, and they only complain now about their opponents. It was underhanded and opportunistic in waiting for just before the election to start the loyalty pledge. And it was nasty and slanderous to call certain council members Islamophobic and racist for daring to think there might be two sides to an issue and for attempting to express themselves. The SJP complain about restricting speech, but they were the ones trying to restrict it.

            And you have clearly sided with the SJP on this. So be it, but don’t pretend you are not supporting them.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            I’m not supporting SJP. I’m supporting a boycott of Israel for its apartheid policies and war crimes. No decent person would accept a gift from AIPAC any more than a decent person would accept a gift from a lobbyist for apartheid South Africa.

          • Elon

            How is that not supporting SJP? Where do you defer with them on this issue? In what way are you not defending their course of action?

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Advocating a boycott of racist organizations like AIPAC is hardly bullying. It wasn’t bullying when the boycott of apartheid South African went into place, either, but I suppose you think it was.

  • Nicholas Fandorin

    So student government argues for freedom of speech, but deems certain campus organizations controversial and sees it appropriate to limit their activity/interaction with student government. And Block argues for free speech and maintains that there should be no agreement that restricts any legal student activity.
    Am I the only one who thinks this issue is blown a little bit out of proportion?

    • angriestdogintheworld

      The only reason Israel doesn’t get get called out for its apartheid regime and its war crimes is that AIPAC has managed to corrupt U.S. politics and cow most politicians and most news media. The fact remains that U.C.L.A. student leaders should not be endorsing the war crimes and apartheid policies of Israel via traveling at the expense of Israel’s lobbying group. It is no more appropriate to visit Israel today than it was to visit South Africa during apartheid.

      • Elon

        AIPAC is god, is it? Maybe the reason Israel doesn’t get called out for anything is because doing so involves agreeing with you loonies.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          Nope, it’s well-funded lobby like the NRA and just as much a cancer on U.S. politics, if not more so.

      • Elon

        And again, the issue is free speech and activity at UCLA. You know the university Chancellor Block is responsible for? No one can dictate who should or should not endorse what. The fact that you decide something is “inappropriate” by whatever twisted standard you have, does not make it illegal. Nor does it mean you can bring a judicial hearing down upon anyone who disagrees.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          AIPAC is a hate group and the issue is not free speech, it’s bribery by travel.

          • Elon

            Considering it isn’t bribery. That you couldn’t find one person to call it bribery. That cannot be the issue.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Free travel is a form of bribery.

          • Elon

            This went to a Judiciary Board, I’m sure they know the rules better than you, as does Chancellor Block.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            So it’s a legal form of bribery, like lobbying or campaign contributions. Whatever. No one should accept benefits from pro-apartheid organizations like AIPAC. Especially since AIPAC corrupts U.S. politics at least as much as the NRA. It’s perfectly reasonable to request that people take sides on that by signing a pledge. You are pro-Israeli apartheid. I get that. You are welcome to your beliefs. Decent people do not share them.

          • Elon

            You clearly do not get that it is legal. Being that you, in this thread, gave support to the SJP’s attempt to try people for what they knew was not a crime. Again, it has nothing to do with the organization funding the educational trip. It has nothing to do with the destination country. It only matters whether educational trips are legal. They are. They always have been. The pledge falsely implies they are not. Therefore the pledge is improper. Ordering a judicial inquiry in the absence of an ethics breach is very improper. Criminal actually.

            It is utterly unreasonable to demand people refrain from engaging in legal activity and to demand censure of them when they refuse. Just because people hold different views does not mean you can silence them. And it certainly does not mean that you can pretend that UCLA is oppressing you by suppressing your ability to oppress others.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Not unreasonable at all. Plenty of things are legal but nevertheless wrong. It’s wrong to be a racist. It’s wrong to support apartheid. For both of those reasons, it’s wrong to accept benefits from a racist, pro-apartheid organization like AIPAC. Sorry to burst your bubble.

          • Elon

            It is very wrong to take someone to a judiciary board, knowing that their activity is legal. It is very wrong to try to ruin someone’s life over a political argument. They were entirely allowed to accept the money. And it was entirely wrong to attempt reprisal because you do not like what you think someone’s vote might have been. It was entirely wrong to slider them. It is entirely wrong to dictate what trips someone can take and to impose restrictions beyond the norm. It is entirely wrong that you refuse to grasp a simple concept of ethics, yet claim to espouse morality.

          • Literally

            Do you not realize the hypocrisy of your last comment? You just went on a rant against AIPAC, using an embarrassingly inaccurate definition of the word “bribery,” and called Israel an apartheid state, which is actually a slanderous and untrue claim. You then said that “decent people do not share” their beliefs…after sharing your own. Is it only acceptable to share beliefs if they are in line with your agenda?

          • Elon

            Probably, he meant decent people do not agree with my beliefs. Something totally untrue. The entire Judicial Board did not in the least acknowledge any wrongdoing through these trips. Apparently, almost everyone is an indecent person.

  • ETF

    Good grief, Chancellor Block makes a plea for civility and in response Devin Murphy demands an apology. This is surreal…

  • emats

    Murphy’s party disparages their opponents in the election AND THEY LOSE! His ilk demonize and libel 2 student government members and bring them to a judicial hearing AND THEY LOSE! They call on candidates to sign a politicized litmus test “pledge” to further their agenda and President Block calls them out – ie THEY LOSE! And now this statement. When will he catch on that he’s not winning this one?

    • Elon

      Murphy won, actually. Which was the most important bit to him. Let’s not get carried away.