The appropriately named Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz (America's Wackiest University)
"(3) as recently as this morning, I have received hateful, anti-Semitic email accusing Jews of being "the cause of global financial and political unrest," "barbaric," "evil," and "today's Nazis"; (4) in these situations things often turn violent, such as recently when a large group of students, including several SJP members, illegally "occupied" a UC Davis administration building, which resulted in the protesters committing assault and battery against students with dissenting views."
Adj teacher UCSC
As my regular readers know, I am a supporter of the AMCHA Initiative (now linked on this blog) and the efforts to fight back against the anti-Semitism on California campuses that is being fueled by the organized effort to de-legitimize the Jewish state of Israel. Recently, I posted a report of a resolution passed at UC Berkeley by the student government urging UC President Mark Yudof to censure UC Santa Cruz part-time Hebrew lecturer Tammi Benjamin, a founder of the AMCHA Initiative.
Since that time, the controversy has continued. Benjamin has formally complained about harassment and fears for her physical safety to the office of the UCSC president, George Blumenthal, who apparently can't answer his own mail, as you will see below.
The exchange of letters below begins with a UCSC reply dated February 28 to Ms Benjamin's letter expressing her concerns.
From: Tammi Benjamin [mailto:
Dear Chancellor Blumenthal:
Thank you for your 3/26/13 response to my letter and for taking my safety concerns seriously. I will look out for an email from AVC Scott.
I mentioned another concern in my letter with regard to what I perceive as violations of UC policy sections 102.09 and 102.24. Can you please clarify your understanding of these sections as it relates to the CJP students' behavior?
According to the UC policy definition, harassment is defined as "conduct that is so severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive...[that it] substantially impairs access to University resources and opportunities." As I mention in my letter, the actions of the CJP students have gone beyond free dissent and become a serious campaign of harassment. The CJP students are not simply expressing their disagreement with me but making false accusations and defaming my name through a well-orchestrated campaign. The CJP's campaign includes:
- a pirated video and defamatory petition accusing me of racism and censorship and urging President Yudof to condemn me;
- the widespread posting all over campus of defamatory flyers which falsely and maliciously imply that I have called members of the CJP and MSA "terrorists";
- a series of 14 defamatory video "testimonials" suggesting that I am "Islamophobic," "hateful," "racist," and that I have "created a dangerous environment" at UCSC;
- collaboration with members of Students for Justice in Palestine on other UC campuses, especially at UC Berkeley, to launch a UC-wide campaign to vilify and defame me that includes calls for students on all UC campuses to fill out hate-bias reports against me and a libelous resolution condemning me for my "inflammatory, hateful, and racist assumptions" that was unanimously passed by the ASUC.
These actions have caused me considerable emotional distress, made me feel uncomfortable and fearful on campus, and negatively affected my interactions with students and colleagues both inside and outside of the classroom.
The CJP students have also "acted with reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing me," i.e. they "caused me to fear bodily harm, and consciously disregarded the risk of doing so." As I mentioned in my previous letter, forwarded below, a number of events have caused me to fear for my safety as a result of the reckless and vilifying actions of these students.
Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on whether CJP students have violated sections 102.09 and 102.24 of the UC Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline. In my case, as well as in the case of future students and faculty members, I want to make sure harassment and terrorization are never protected under the doctrine of free speech. I feel strongly that students should be encouraged to speak up whenever they disagree, but that the fine line between free dissent and harassment/intimidation/terrorization should always be safely guarded.
Thank you for the clarification,
Lecturer in Hebrew
It is time to call in the lawyers.