The University of California Board of Regents announced Thursday a working group to modify the language of the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.
The group will be led by Regent Eddie Island and will include students, faculty, chancellors and regents.
The announcement came after almost 20 speakers at the public comment section called for the regents to adopt the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism.
The U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism includes demonizing Israel, applying a double standard to Israel and delegitimizing Israel. The resolution, which refers to part of the U.S. Department of State’s definition, does not explicitly cite the department’s clauses regarding Israel.
The regents were mostly in consensus that the current language, which doesn’t specifically name anti-Semitism or other affected groups, did not go far enough to address the concerns brought up by Jewish students, but some hesitated adopting the Department of State’s definition.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins mentioned the California Assembly and Senate’s action to condemn anti-Semitic activity at the UC, saying the UC had to do more to protect its students.
However, Atkins added she thinks the Department of State definition might go too far and a definition in between the current definition and the Department of State definition would be appropriate.
Regent John Perez said he thinks while the statement needed stronger language it might not be appropriate for an academic environment.
Supporters of the inclusion of the Department of State’s definition pointed to numerous anti-Semitic incidents over the past few years, saying they think the only way to protect students from these incidents is to adopt the definition.
Regent Richard Blum, husband of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said Feinstein might come out publicly and condemn the University if the board didn’t adopt the Department of State’s definition.
Some public speakers spoke in favor of keeping the current statement in order to preserve academic freedom and differentiate between criticism of Israel and targeting of Jewish students.
The regents will continue to discuss the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance at its next meeting in November, at UC San Francisco.
Compiled by Ryan Leou, Bruin contributor.