Editorial: Objections to USAC Judicial Board appointment discriminatory


Religious affiliations and ethnic identity should not and do not disqualify someone from being an effective judge.

And yet, at Tuesday night’s Undergraduate Students Association Council meeting, that’s exactly what councilmembers were arguing.

During the meeting, several councilmembers, including General Representative 3 Fabienne Roth, General Representative 1 Manjot Singh, Transfer Student Representative Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed and General Representative 2 Sofia Moreno Haq, raised concerns about the appointment of Rachel Beyda, a second-year economics student, to the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body.

After much discussion and the intervention of administrators, Beyda was eventually unanimously appointed to the position – but not before several councilmembers managed to politicize her identity as a Jewish student on campus.

The main objection to her appointment was Beyda’s affiliation with Jewish organizations at UCLA and how they might affect her ability to rule fairly on cases in which the Jewish community has a vested interest in the outcome, such as cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That objection is confounding both for its vast shortsightedness and for its flat-out discriminatory nature.

Barring the dubious legality of not appointing someone based on his or her religious identity, the controversy over Beyda’s appointment makes little logical sense. The extent of Beyda’s involvement in Jewish community groups is irrelevant to her ability to execute her job on the Judicial Board. Suggesting otherwise implies that any person with any kind of community identity cannot make objective decisions on the board.

If Beyda cannot make decisions about issues that affect her community, can a Muslim student in the Muslim Students Association or a black student in the Afrikan Student Union do so? A Latino student in MEChA?

For a council seemingly obsessed with celebrating diversity in student positions and advocating against discrimination, the proceedings of Tuesday’s meeting were particularly hypocritical.

Several councilmembers asserted that while Beyda was more than qualified for the role, they were uncomfortable appointing her to the position specifically because cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can come before the board, and they felt that Beyda would not be able to judge such cases fairly.

And yet, in recent years, the only case related to the topic that went before the board had to do with the issue of councilmembers’ Israel trips, which is unrelated to the conflict itself. Not to mention that it is not the purpose of the Judicial Board to rule on cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only on cases related to “cases of actions taken among the officers, commissioners and funding bodies to ensure compliance with the (USAC constitution) and bylaws.”

It is obvious that the objections to Beyda’s appointment are not only political, but also discriminatory. To hold an applicant to a standard higher than others simply because of his or her ethnic or religious identity instead of his or her ability to rule fairly in accordance with USAC regulations is illogical and immoral.

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  • howlongcanmyusernamebewow

    This year is a highly racist, anti-Semitic year in recent USAC history. Those listed above should resign or be recalled by UCLA students and kicked out of office. They do not represent me. #notmystudentgovernment

  • Cause and effect

    This is disgusting. If the same things were said about another person of literally any single other race or ethnicity, the council members would be tripping on themselves to apologize. However, because this was said about a Jew, no one says a thing. They should resign immediately because they have failed miserably at being representatives of the student body.

    • TrueBruin

      After BDS passes at UC Davis, a Jewish fraternity gets spray painted with swastikas and a poster of the Israeli PM with devil horns and a Hitler mustache is held up by the leader of SJP on that campus. After BDS passes at UCLA, this. The message that BDS somehow improves campus climate is false.

  • Are you kidding?

    You know, this isn’t the first time Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed and Manjot Singh been called out in the Daily Bruin for unethical behavior in the USAC.

    http://dailybruin.com/2014/11/21/natalie-delgadillo-debate-on-usac-presidents-legitimacy-widens-council-rift/

    “In a room full of hundreds of people, during a meeting that both revealed and perpetuated deep rifts among communities at UCLA, three councilmembers came together in a baseless and targeted attack on another. In so doing, they not only cast their integrity as public officials into question, but they also all but doomed any hope for cooperation between the new Office of the President and the offices of his political rivals.”

  • Servo1969

    Across the Western world…
    In the highest institutions of education the refrain is growing louder…

    Juden raus!

    We are reliving the 1930s.

    The 1940s are next…

    • Zimriel

      The language won’t be German, and the words won’t mean “Jews out”. The words will be “Khaybar, Khaybar al-Yahud”.

  • jeffklives

    sigh. The good news is Editorial Board at the Daily Bruin got this right.

  • Jrnymn

    Very sad for my alma mater.

  • TrueBruin

    Impeach

  • Publius

    I’m not defending those who questioned her background, but we shouldn’t misrepresent their concerns. Nobody was suggesting that Beyda’s Jewish identity, in itself, would create any sort of conflict of interest, impair partiality, or make her unqualified to rule on Jewish-related issues. Her affiliations and her political conduct among organizations with roles in the Arab-Jewish conflicts at UCLA lately were at issue. There are few times when an individual seeking a confirmation to a specific office did not have their affiliations questioned at some point. Affiliations should be questioned as a rule, and indeed the mechanics of confirmation require scrutiny.

    • TrueBruin

      I understand your point where it is fair game to scrutinize the affiliations of a particular appointee candidate, however, after all was said and done, and no evidence of any conflict of interest was proven, four still voted her down. Beyda was highly qualified for the position, and they all knew it. They let their personal, petty issues get in the way of the political process. That is clear as day.

      • Publius

        I agree that personal bullshit got in the way. I’m just of the mindset that anyone with confirmation power should have a right to scrutinize. Today it’s these people with an agenda toward the Jewish community, but another time it could be representatives affiliated with Jewish organizations scrutinizing a nominee with ties to the BDS movement…at which point we could fully expect the pro-Israel side to come out and defend the right of their representatives to look into suspected conflicts of interests.

        • TrueBruin

          I completely agree with you. I think we should have a very open political process. I suppose what takes this issue over the edge is that Beyda was still voted down. And to the point that administration had to come in to settle things. The opposing side had the right to scrutinize all they want (they should!), but when it came down to it, and with no further evidence against her, they still voted her down and gridlocked the process. Now either there are some hardcore lobbyists out there, or these four let their ideology get in the way.

        • blisterpeanuts

          This is a vile moral equivalency: that people who voted someone down merely for being a Jew are the same as people who oppose a BDS activist.

          BDS can be construed as a hate movement or at the very least an attack campaign against a Jewish state. It’s sponsored by and funded by Muslim organizations with a slick, well oiled PR machine. Their goal is to delegitimize Israel.

          A Jew is a person born and raised with a Jewish heritage.

          These two things are slightly different.

          • Publius

            I’m replying to both your comments.

            Just a couple things.

            Unless you ask me or I tell you what I believe, you don’t know. Here it is: I used to be sympathetic to the BDS movement, but over time things have changed. I’ve seen first hand the ways anti-semitism motivates the policy and many of its supporters. It’s disgusting. In my comments above, which never mentioned BDS, I was defending the right of confirming council members to inquire, especially since anyone would fully expect Jewish members to question the allegiance to organizations to which Arab candidates belong. In this case, though, Beyda’s identity was attacked, and so obviously the questioning of her identity and not affiliations was out of line.

            Next, you should be less concerned that you’re dealing with someone who is commenting anonymously, and more troubled by the fact that a UCLA student must create an anonymous profile in order to comment on campus affairs without being punished for their beliefs. I’ve been called several names, and included are interestedly both anti-semitic and Islamophobic. I’m thrilled that the Jewish pro-Israel community has found a home in UCLA, but I find it troubling that only that perspective is permitted without being called some names. The world is not black and white, and the university environment was never designed to facilitate groupthink. Anyone who believes only one perspective on a given issue is permissible has found the wrong country in which to engage in that sort of discourse. Antisemitism is rampant at UCLA, but I am not part of that rank; I want to encourage a dialogue wherein a diversity of perspectives are heard and considered. You cannot label people as anti-semitic simply because they don’t fully agree with you.

            Finally, you don’t get to decide Jewishness. You don’t know my background, nor do you care to know it. As long as I continue to offer a perspective that’s different than yours there’s nothing that will validate my identity in your eyes.

            So, you don’t have to lecture me on what BDS is, who is behind it, and what it does. Israel has the right to exist and it has the right to be a national home for Jews, and I have never said otherwise.

        • Tzanchan77

          Several of those council members that raised this Jew issue themselves have openly advocated for BDS, so they in fact are the ones with bias who should be questioned and their bias clearly showed in this instance.

    • Just A Student

      Except she has no political affiliations. Her being a member of the Jewish community is not political. So the affiliations that they were questioning were if her being Jewish would lead to her being susceptible to issues of conflict of interest. Which is unfounded and wrong. This would never be justified if it were to happen to someone from any other ethnicity.

      • Are you kidding?

        Exactly. I watched the USAC meeting on YouTube, and here’s what Fabienne Roth asked immediately after Rachel Beyda’s opening statement:

        “Hi. So, given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, and given that recently the [type of issue?] judicial board [???] has been surrounding cases of conflict of interest, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view on — as your position?”

        Fabienne Roth’s question is blatantly discriminatory and anti-Jewish. Notice how she doesn’t say a word about Beyda’s political activities or affiliations; she just asks how Beyda can be unbiased given that she is Jewish and active in her community. People would rightly be calling for Roth’s immediate resignation if you changed “Jewish” to “black” in that question.

        • ScottAdler

          Even more so since Roth is a traditional Jewish name.

          How did a Roth become an anti-Semite?

        • AchillesAchillesAchilles

          What else was said in the 40 minutes of discussion while Ms. Beyda was at the door?

    • Bill Wilson

      Good replies – but Publius has posted here before and is a known racist and anti-semite

      • Publius

        You got me! I’m a big Jew-hater…even though I’m Jewish I guess.

        • Nina

          Saying a jew can’t be anti-semitic is like saying a closest gay person can’t be a raging homophobe. Many of the worst enemies of the Jewish people throughout history have been other Jews – if you knew anything about our tribe you would know that.

          • Publius

            And what do you know if my views beside what Bill has declared I believe? Can’t you also make the case that calling someone anti-Semitic because they don’t agree with you doesn’t make them anti-Semitic?

        • blisterpeanuts

          Your assertion that you’re a Jew is mere words from an anonymous Internet troll and does nothing to bolster your arguments. In fact it deflects attention from your arguments. “I’m a Jew therefore you can’t dispute my logic.”

    • Tzanchan77

      Is it an Arab-JEWISH conflict? If you follow the Arab media, it most certainly is. the vile anti-Semitism that is seen there is beyond crazy. Note however, that the word Israel never came up at this meeting.

      In addition, the very members of the Council that asked those questions have themselves demonstrated bias by actively promoting BDS. They hijacked the Student Council and their PRIMARY activity to date is to not once but TWICE push the BDS issue at UCLA.

  • Matt P

    UCLA is going down the tubes. It is frightening that many of our nation’s future leaders have such twisted logic, and even more abhorrent that it is instilled in them at UCLA. The resemblance to the school I loved and attended is quickly fading…

    • PasoFinoCA

      Welcome to the world where Arab Muslim Palestinian interests are openly anti Jewish anti Israel.. and control the environment and conversation…and get away with it, Resist and condemn these intolerants.

  • Hchernin

    The USAC members who made these horrible statements questioning Ms. Beyda’s allegiances owe the entire campus community an apology and should resign immediately. They have lost sight of what it means to be a representative, much less a human being.

    • http://www.sandiegoteam.org jjs110

      Agreed. They should have the decency to resign since they demonstrated that THEY are incapable of showing impartiality and objectivity in their position (while hypocritically accusing Ms. Beyda of being de facto biased simply because she’s Jewish). And since chances are quite solid that they won’t have the kind of decency you’d expect from people in their positions to resigne in shame, precisely, the rest of USAC members must ask them to leave lest they terminally taint its reputation (despite their insincere apology). Whatever its outcome, let this incident be a reminder that the Palestinian poison pill is spreading on our campuses like no other ever has before. Wherever they show up, divisions, acrimony, expressions of hostility, sometimes including acts of outright physical aggression, are sure to follow. They do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people. What they do is to hold American colleges hostages to a cause that nobody cares about, and for good reason since they have little to show for the care and attention they demand. It’s time to put them back where they belong and not allow them to hijack campuses as if they were mere airplanes.

  • Jonathan Trojan

    Why keep sending your money via your children and donations to UCLA.

    MEANWHILE, at USC, the school is angling and the Board of Trustees actually had a trip to Israel!

    Fight On!

  • hypocrisy

    Hypocrisy unleashed.

    http://www.standwithus.com/chapters/northwest/news/article.asp?id=2820#.VN4Rd1PF_iQ

    SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California`s governing board confirmed its first Muslim student member Wednesday, despite some Jewish groups` claims that she marginalized Jewish students and promoted an anti-Israel agenda.

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, conservative commentator David Horowitz and others had called on the board to reject Saifuddin`s appointment.”

    The Hillel Organization of which Beyda is a member actively collaborates with right wing organizations like StandWithUs.

    • Masada

      Did you read the article? SWU’s objection had nothing to do with her background, it was about her leadership in BDS.

      • hypocrisy

        Objections to Beyda were also based on her organizational affiliations.

        • Masada

          It was based on her affiliations with the “Jewish community”. Watch the live stream before posting BS. And also affiliations are not the same thing as playing a leading role in promoting a political agenda that damages other communities. You’re out of your element.

          • hypocrisy

            “Beyda’s affiliation with Jewish organizations ” – its written in the article. Take a breather.

          • Masada

            This is the first question she was asked after she made her presentation to USAC:

            “Given that you’re a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community […] how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view in your position?”

            “Take a breather”?? No, not till you stop trying to justify and minimize blatant anti-Semitism. I suggest you take a moment or 10, think about it, and hopefully you’ll realize that you and people like you are part of the problem.

          • hypocrisy

            And you don’t even post the entire question (the conflict of interest part that you conveniently). Nor do you post the rest of the questions posited to her.

            Typical. Bye.

          • Masada

            Suggesting that being “a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community” creates a conflict of interest that will not allow someone to remain unbiased in a judicial position is as racist as suggesting that being “a Black student and very active in the Black community” creates a conflict of interest.

            Good riddance, a**hole.

    • roccolore

      You Muslim and Democrat fascists are the hypocrites who lecture on tolerance and diversity, yet are blatantly anti-Jewish.

  • JaneSmith100

    #JewishLivesMatter

  • Bruin

    This is sickening… UCLA campus climate has gone down the drain ever since BDS was introduced. There is no doubt that this hateful act of antisemitism is a direct result of the BDS propaganda that has been spewed on campus over the past several years. And unfortunately, things are only going to get worse until there is a major change on campus, starting with the student leadership. Those “student leaders” listed in the above article should respectfully resign

  • DefiantJewess

    typical anti semitism, but now they seem to be on a roll. Ever since Obama became the POTUS and immediately began is rage at Netanyahu while managing to kiss the feet of the Saudi King– who can forget that. This was the beginning of the end for Jews around the world. Obama has managed to drag the Democratic party down into a cesspool of Jewish discrimination. The party needs to be cleansed of its anti-Semitism before Jews like me ever vote for their candidates. I am forced into voting for Republicans now, as any decent Jew would.

  • ScottAdler

    Next is “Juden raus!”

    Then comes the yellow star?

  • Nina

    After reading Fabienne Roth’s vile words, I feel like I need to take a shower. Idiot is too mild a word for this hateful cretin. I can’t believe that UCLA is so morally clueless that Roth and the other racist bigots are allowed to remain on the board.

  • Huh?!?

    If they thought it was reasonable to ask a Jew, why wouldn’t they also ask Arabs, Muslims, or Left-wing students if their ‘affiliations’ prevent them from acting objectively when Jewish or Israeli issues are concerned. Because, as we all know, anti-Israel animus correlates strongly with these three demographics.

    Unless, of course, the students asking her were never truly concerned with ‘objectivity’ — but, rather, trying to stack the deck in their favor for some future action…

  • AchillesAchillesAchilles

    The key question. What did these four say? That really, really matters. If what Ms. Beyda asserts is true, the four in question may well be possessed of notions that being Jewish suits one to be slaughtered. This can be readily resolved if the meeting, which was videotaped, is uploaded again for public fieweing.

  • lissack

    The blatant anti-Semitism demonstrated by the four has been amply and permanently recorded on the Internet courtesy of today’s NY Times article. These four and especially Ms Roth who started the problem are going to have a hard time finding employment. It is a very rare business that will take on the risks of hiring a documented bigot.

    • Tzanchan77

      Inn fact, I have written them to let them know I will be tracking their careers going forward and will ensure that any place that employs them will get a copy of the article and the video

  • Jenny Librero

    Tolerance of intolerance is not only cowardice, it is complicity. In an international climate of growing & violent anti semitsm, the failure of UCLA to take action against such blatant antisemitism sends a clear message to students and the world that such behavior will be frowned upon, but not interfered with.

  • don2dive

    Interesting that they’re openly expressing their anti-semitism. More interesting as to how they came to be so confident that this would be tolerated? Speaks to a “rot” of moral fiber in the academic leadership and certainly a wasting decay of intellectual capital.