Wednesday, September 18

Submission: GSA must revoke policies that bar group funding based on viewpoints


A town hall hosted by the Diversity Caucus is at the center of a claim that the Graduate Student Association violated the first amendment. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin)

A town hall hosted by the Diversity Caucus is at the center of a claim that the Graduate Student Association violated the first amendment. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin)


It has recently been reported that the Graduate Student Association has adopted a policy to deny student funding to groups that endorse or are even connected to campaigns in support of divestment from companies that violate Palestinian human rights.

In an official email sent to organizers of the Diversity Caucus, GSA President Milan Chatterjee declared that if the organization worked with groups that supported divestment from companies that violate Palestinian human rights, or if it endorsed divestment in any way, the GSA would not provide it with funding for its town hall event with UCLA Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang. In the lead up to the event, Chatterjee repeatedly threatened to cancel funding or to retroactively revoke it if he determined that the organization did not follow his stipulation to his satisfaction.

This funding restriction, described as official GSA policy, is illegal. As the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal have stated in a letter to the GSA and university administration, as a public entity the GSA cannot discriminate based on viewpoint when funding student events and cannot restrict students’ rights to free association. By stating that funding was contingent upon what the Diversity Caucus said, the GSA violated students’ rights to free speech. And by stating that funding was contingent upon which other students the Diversity Caucus worked with, the GSA violated students’ rights to free association.

On Thursday, Chatterjee issued a press release stating that the GSA’s policy – which has not been made public – had been worded poorly. He committed to funding a future event where views on these issues could be shared. Chatterjee explained that he and the GSA were just trying to be neutral on Israel-Palestine issues, but this explanation neither fits the facts, nor brings the GSA into compliance with the law or its responsibilities to the graduate student body.

First, Chatterjee told the Daily Bruin that the GSA voted on a position of neutrality on Oct. 26, but his email asserting that the GSA would not fund events endorsing divestment was sent on Oct. 16. This inconsistency, combined with Chatterjee’s refusal to provide any documentation of the policy itself, raises questions about the accuracy of his statements and the democratic process of the GSA. The GSA has an obligation to students to make its votes and policies public.

Second, Chatterjee’s claim that the GSA was being neutral on Israel-Palestine does not accurately describe the emails he sent, which specifically stated that support for divestment was the viewpoint barred from funding.

Third, a policy of neutrality by the GSA does not make its actions any more acceptable or legal. Even though the GSA may take a position of support, neutrality or opposition on any issue it chooses, it cannot use student fees to dictate the political positions that other people or groups can take. How can we accept a GSA with the power to deny funding to groups because the topics they talk about are deemed “too controversial”?

The GSA’s actions have harmed many students, ranging from members of the Diversity Caucus and Students for Justice in Palestine to the union representing teaching assistants at UCLA, UAW 2865, which endorsed divestment last year. But what is really scary about the GSA’s actions is the damage they have done to the entire graduate community at UCLA. Once the GSA denied funding for one viewpoint, it created the possibility that future GSA administrations could deny funding for other viewpoints or groups that it disagrees with or finds “too controversial.” Once you have opened the door to censoring one group or viewpoint, you have opened the door to censoring them all. This means that even those who are indifferent or opposed to divestment should recognize the GSA’s policy as harmful to their own rights.

The issues of transparency and accountability raised by these events are serious and require attention. But the legal issue has a simple fix. The GSA must formally revoke any policy that bars funding to groups based on their viewpoints, and both it and the university administration must clarify in writing that student government cannot condition funding allocations on the basis of identity, political viewpoint or group membership. Students from across the graduate community are adopting this simple demand, and it is one shared by the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal. We ask all graduate students to help us overturn this illegal policy by signing a petition or by voicing their concerns to the GSA by email or at the GSA’s public meetings.

Kurwa is a doctoral candidate in sociology. Kureh is a mathematics doctoral student. Pow is a graduate student at the UCLA School of Law. This submission is also endorsed unanimously by all 13 UAW 2865 officers at UCLA.

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  • SJP Hate Group

    It’s shameful that UCLA’s extremist SJP chapter has rejected a neutrality policy in this article. It’s obvious that they’re trying to impose their anti-semitist agenda on the entire UCLA community. Moreover, SJP’s lawyers have a history of anti-semitism. See this article for more information: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260874/sjp-hate-group-fights-right-harass-jews-ucla-daniel-greenfield

    This organization needs to be shut down.

    • Nazik

      Neutrality? Really? This is neutrality? http://imgur.com/gallery/BPQfc

      • ModernMaccabi

        You are shamelessly trying to take the stipulation out of context. For instance, the Diversity Caucus is closely aligned with SJP. Much like how a Bruin Republicans might be seen as being aligned with pro-Israel groups. Indeed, if the GSA were funding a Bruin Republicans event that might involve the Israel-Palestinian conflict they too might have a similar stipulation. Open your eyes, heart and think about what you are really advocating. This isn’t an infringement on Free Speech.

        • Nazik

          Can you please provide any proof that Diversity Caucus is even remotely aligned with SJP? I would love to see what context this all fits in?

          Also, there is no basis for a funding body to discriminate against students or student groups based on viewpoint. It’s illegal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Regents_of_the_University_of_Wisconsin_System_v._Southworth and https://www.scribd.com/doc/290226499/Legal-Letter-to-UCLA-Re-Viewpoint-Discrimination

          • ModernMaccabi

            Sure thing. SJP is listed as a member of the Diversity Caucus event. See https://reslife.ucla.edu/diversity-symposium/about What’s more, no Jewish groups or pro-Israel groups are included as part of the Diversity Council event.

            I also completely disagree with the legal analysis, but that may be up to a court to decide.

          • Nazik

            That is the Diversity Symposium, which is not the same as the Diversity Caucus. As you can read here: http://equity.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-11-05-GSC-Diversity-Caucus.pdf The Diversity Caucus is a new organization and there is no mention whatsoever of any particular groups. Bruins for Israel even had a table at the event.

            I’m glad to hear you disagree with the legal analysis. I’ll make sure to to remember that on December 1, 2015 some random person on the internet disagreed with the legal analysis of the ACLU and CCR. Duly noted! I hope you don’t mind I sorted that with all the other unsupported claims of randoms persons on the internet.

          • ModernMaccabi

            You do realize that lawyer letters advocate a given position, right? It isn’t dispositive or law. Just because some group writes a letter does not make it correct factually or legally. It is up to a court to decide if it ultimately gets that far. Btw, you too are just some random person on the internet.

          • Nazik

            Well I’m glad courts have already made pretty clear decisions about similar cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Regents_of_the_University_of_Wisconsin_System_v._Southworth

            Also, I’m not just some random person on the internet. I’m some random person on the internet who keeps schooling you. Sorry.

          • ModernMaccabi

            LOL. Posting links to Wikipedia is hardly schooling. You are a rank amateur who has very little clue about how the law or real world works. Now go back to you safe space little boy.

          • Nazik

            I am truly baffled by your insistence in making a safe space joke about me. I’m advocating for free speech to be alive and well on University campuses. You’re defending the GSA who is telling us an issue is too divisive to discuss. You’re utterly inconsistent in your position.

            Also, this is straight from the linked wikipedia article about the court’s ruling: “Thus, the decision to fund or not to fund an organization cannot be contingent on the content of the group’s message. This method of allocating funds protects students’ free speech rights by ensuring that all viewpoints, including those that are controversial, have an equal chance to receive student fee funding.” You’re right, this has nothing to do with the case here.

          • ModernMaccabi

            The facts of the case are different. What’s more an argument can be made that funding an EVENT is different than funding an ORGANIZATION, among other things. I’m not making that argument, of course, I’m just pointing out one argument to show you that your case is not as cut and dry as you are trying to make it.

            As for advocating for Free Speech, the BDS movement advocates for isolating and denying the opportunity to engage with anyone that supports Israel; the exact opposite of Free Speech. Indeed, it has a history of shutting down events where Israeli’s or those that support its existence are speaking. You want it both ways.

          • Nazik

            Organization and event funding are almost equivalent, and I’d be surprised that there is some distinction because organizations simply serve the purpose of organizing the events. The case obviously isn’t a carbon copy, but I think a better point has to be made than merely saying “well, we said we have to be neutral to orgs but we didnt say anything about events by those orgs.”

            I’m keen to have a real discussion with you and I’m glad to see you bringing up these points, but if you now want to go into an attack of BDS, that’s not helpful or relevant. This was a freedom of speech and association violation.

          • ModernMaccabi

            Like I said before, it will be up to the courts to decide whether or not it is the same and whether it was a violation. You or the attorneys advocating for SJP are not the final arbiters and trying to shame and intimidate the president of MSA to resign based on your reading of the law is wrong and way over the top, in my opinion.
            As far as BDS goes, my point was about freedom of speech and how the BDS movement claims to advocate for Free Speech on the one hand, while infringing on the Free Speech rights of others with whom they disagree. You and they cannot have it both ways.

          • Nazik

            This wasn’t about BDS though. This was about “Divest from Israel,” so I’m not sure what you’re getting at to be honest. Divesting from companies that profit from human rights violations is in no way infringing on free speech.

            Also, I agree the courts will be the ones to decide, but the courts decide based on argument, not a coin flip. I would love to hear an argument.

  • BigSticksWalkSoftly

    It seems like extremist Zionists like to make people confused between universally accepted human rights such as to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the rights of people to form nations.
    Zionist nationalism has been confused with universal human rights.
    This is the real shame.
    People have a right to live.
    But people do NOT have a right to form nations on the backs and lands of other people.
    Israel is a racist terror state built on lies, violence, and ethnic cleansing and can only survive with US welfare handouts and by guaranteeing that anti-semitism(which is a misnomer since the Palestinians are the real Semites and not fake,mostly European illegal armed immigrants) sticks around.
    America first
    Not Israel
    Free Palestine
    BDS

    • roccolore

      BDS is a hate group that supports the Bataclan attacks because the club was owned by Jews and the performers were pro-Israel. BDS supports the Muslims behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the Muslims who kill gays.

      • Nazik

        Who did the GSA president ask to represent him? The ACLJ. Who founded the ACLJ? Pat Robertson. Who does Pat Robertson blame for Hurricane Katrina? “The gays.”

    • ModernMaccabi

      What about Jewish rights to be universally accepted? What about their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Does it not apply to them.
      Jews have a right to live, do they not?
      They also have a right to self-determination, do they not?
      Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Jews have lived there for centuries.
      There has never in the history of the world been a country or state of Palestine.
      It was British Mandate Palestine until 1948 when it became Israel. Before that it was part of Ottoman Empire, before that it was controlled by several other empires, including Persians, Byzantines, Romans, Greeks….and before that it was the Kingdom of Judea
      IT WAS NEVER AN ARAB STATE
      Palestinians were not even described as that until the 1960s. In fact, early in the 20th Century Jews in British Mandate Palestine were referenced as Palestinians.
      Stop the Lies
      Long Live the Jewish People
      Long Live the Jewish People
      Long Live the Jewish People

      • BigSticksWalkSoftly

        Again typical hasbara trash
        You are confusing universal human rights to life(which you and the rest of your Israeli-first hasbara jewish extremist terrorists deny to Palestinians), with nationalism.
        Nationalism and human rights are not the same.
        Zionism has brain washed you into believing , falsely, that world Jewry is safe only by stealing Palestine and killing Palestinians.
        This is your idea if Jewish human rights?
        To destroy Palestine?
        Not only is this disgusting, but it promotes anti-Jewishness, and it is anti-semitic on so many levels.
        Human rights and nationalism are different.
        Israels have both already.
        Palestinians have neither thanks to zionism

        • ModernMaccabi

          Again you brainwashed fool.
          Are Palestinian attempts to establish a state not Nationalism? Are they not infringing on human rights by stabbing, shooting and blowing up Jews as part of the so called intifada?
          Zionism is a political movement to re-establish the Jewish homeland in Israel. The Jewish people have the same right to self-determination as every other group.
          Jews have not “stolen” Palestinian lands. The British Mandate of Palestine expired in 1948 and the UN declared two states. The Jews accepted, the Arabs/Palestinians rejected and started wars and terrorism to try to force Jews out. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Jews are in Israel to stay. The sooner the Arabs accept that the sooner there will be peace.
          Learn the facts.
          Stop the hate.
          Long live Israel.
          Long live the Jewish People.

          • BigSticksWalkSoftly

            So you are defending the right for world Jews to have a back up home, just in case, a vacation home……and it doesn’t matter the Palestinians are homeless as a result….
            That is just privileged nuttery.
            Your defense of land stealing and apartheid is appalling.
            Palestinians do their nationalism in their own lands of Palestine.
            Not in other people’s lands they have to forcibly steal and lie to the world continuously about like the extremists Zionists you defend.

          • ModernMaccabi

            I am not saying anything of the sort. Jews do not have a “back up home.” Israel is the only homeland the Jewish people have ever had.
            The Palestinians you reference are Arabs, who have a number of other countries. Indeed, Arabs control Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc…
            Israel was not stolen from Arabs. You can provide no facts to prove otherwise. Indeed, before UN declared two states for Jews and Arabs, the land was controlled by British. Before that it was Ottoman, before that it was Byzantine, Persian, Greek Roman, and before that kingdom of Jewish people. If I am wrong, prove it.
            Your clichés about land being stolen or there being apartheid belie the truth or facts. You know and I know it.
            Stop the Lies!!!
            Stop the hate!!!
            Accept the Jews of Israel and there can be peace.

          • BigSticksWalkSoftly

            Whoopi Goldberg and other Jewish converts don’t have the right to steal land from Palestinian grandmothers whose families have been in Palestine for millennia.
            Your ZIONIST reasoning is religious supremacy and bigoted entitlement .
            Totally unAmerican.

  • Milan Chatterjee
  • Milan Chatterjee

    GSA Cabinet — Clarification on Funding Process (Re-Issued): https://www.scribd.com/doc/290937337/GSA-Cabinet-Clarification-on-Funding-Process-Re-Issued

  • Nazik

    It’s pretty clear from the original emails that GSA was restricting ONLY ONE viewpoint. A viewpoint supported by several student organizations and endorsed by the majority of graduate students. GSA clearly misused their position of power over funds to stop a viewpoint they personally disagree with. Just compare Milan’s explanations to the words in these emails, then consider whether or not this person is fit to be GSA president.

    http://imgur.com/gallery/BPQfc

    • ModernMaccabi

      You are shamelessly trying to take the stipulation out of context. For instance, the Diversity Caucus is closely aligned with SJP. Much like how a Bruin Republicans might be seen as being aligned with pro-Israel groups. Indeed, if the GSA were funding a Bruin Republicans event that might involve the Israel-Palestinian conflict they too might have a similar stipulation.

      • Nazik

        Can you please provide any proof that Diversity Caucus is even remotely aligned with SJP? I would love to see what context this all fits in?

        Also, there is no basis for a funding body to discriminate against students or student groups based on viewpoint. It’s illegal: https://www.scribd.com/doc/290226499/Legal-Letter-to-UCLA-Re-Viewpoint-Discrimination

        • ModernMaccabi

          SJP is listed as a member of the Diversity Caucus event which seems to indicate they are related. See https://reslife.ucla.edu/diver… Also telling is the fact that no Jewish groups or pro-Israel groups are included as part of the Diversity Council or event.

          I also completely disagree with the legal analysis, but that may be up to a court to decide.

          • Nazik

            That’s the Diversity Symposium, which is not the Diversity Caucus. As you can read here: http://equity.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-11-05-GSC-Diversity-Caucus.pdf The Diversity Caucus is a new organization and there is no mention whatsoever of any particular groups. Bruins for Israel even had a table at the event.

            I’m glad to hear you disagree with the legal analysis. I’ll make sure to to remember that on December 1, 2015 some random person on the internet disagreed with the legal analysis of the ACLU and CCR. Duly noted! I hope you don’t mind I sorted that with all the other unsupported claims of randoms persons on the internet.

          • ModernMaccabi

            You do realize that lawyer letters advocate a given position, right? It isn’t dispositive or law. Just because some group writes a letter does not make it correct factually or legally. It is up to a court to decide if it ultimately gets that far. Now go back to your safe space. LOL

          • Nazik

            Well I’m glad courts have already made pretty clear decisions about similar cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Regents_of_the_University_of_Wisconsin_System_v._Southworth

          • ModernMaccabi

            You certainly have a very liberal reading of that case, which I read as far different than what transpired in this matter. Courts, in case you don’t know, are forced to interpret precedent for a variety of factual scenarios. It isn’t just strictly applied as you are attempting to do here.

          • Nazik

            This is straight from the linked wikipedia article about the court’s ruling: “Thus, the decision to fund or not to fund an organization cannot be contingent on the content of the group’s message. This method of allocating funds protects students’ free speech rights by ensuring that all viewpoints, including those that are controversial, have an equal chance to receive student fee funding.” Such a liberal reading….

          • ModernMaccabi

            That case might be relevant for precedent, but the underlying facts are not at all similar. Clearly you can acknowledge that fact, no?
            Courts must take the precedent set and apply it to the facts of this case. Arguments would then be made that could distinguish it. For instance, a conceivable argument might be that this case is different because it is the funding of an event, not an organization.
            I haven’t studied this case or matter closely and am just throwing out a hypothetical to try to get you to think about how this matter may not be as clear cut as you are trying to make it.

          • Nazik

            Organization and event funding are almost equivalent, and I’d be surprised that there is some distinction because organizations just serve to organize the events. The case obviously isn’t a carbon copy, but I think a better point has to be made than saying well, we said we have to be neutral to orgs but not events.

          • ModernMaccabi

            That was my whole point. A court would have to decide whether it is the same, among other things.

          • Nazik

            I agree the courts will be the ones to decide, but the courts decide based on argument, not a coin flip. I would love to hear an argument.

          • ModernMaccabi

            You are the one that has already charged, tried and convicted the President of GSA and has been vocal calling for his resignation. As far as arguments go, I already gave you one (e.g., Event v. Organization) without even looking into the details of the case you repeatedly cited or the underlying matter.

          • Nazik

            I am calling for his resignation because he has clearly and blatantly lied and breached protocols: dailybruin.com/2015/11/30/submission-gsa-member-resigns-over-duplicitous-neutrality-policy/

            Also, saying events are not organizations is not an argument. Please explain how that is a substantive and meaningful difference here.

          • ModernMaccabi

            You really don’t understand the difference between an organization and an event? That’s pretty sad. LOL
            In all seriousness, I don’t represent the MSA or Mr. Chatterjee and have said many times already I haven’t dug into this matter or the case law surrounding it. I’ll defer to his attorneys who will likely be able to make a more detailed and concise argument. After all as you’ve already proclaimed I’m but “a random person on the internet.”

          • Nazik

            For the purposes of funding, why would it be different giving money to an organization (which will presumably use to hold an event) from giving money to be used for a specific event. That’s the real question.

            And yes, you are, but you seem so interested in the topic, yet don’t want to engage in a conversation. All you’ve done is shout: “IT WAS NEVER AN ARAB STATE” and “Long Live ISRAEL” elsewhere in this thread. Two completely irrelevant points to the case at hand regarding first amendment violations.

  • SJP Hate Group

    Why is SJP’s Agatha Palma profiled on the Canary Mission for anti-Jewish activities? http://canarymission.org/individuals/agata-palma/

  • SJP Hate Group

    Why is SJP’s Rahim Kurwa profiled on the Canary Mission for anti-Jewish activities? http://canarymission.org/individuals/rahim-kurwa/

  • SJP Hate Group

    Why did Yacoub Kureh target the dorm rooms of Jewish students to place “mock eviction notices?” http://www.jewishpress.com/news/harvard-jewish-students-contemptuous-of-mock-eviction-notices/2013/03/08/0/?print