Posted tagged ‘UCLA’

UCLA: Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment

May 2, 2017

UCLA: Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment, Front Page MagazineSara Dogan, May 2, 2017

(Israel seems to be doing very well despite these and similar jerks. Please see, Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers. If only freedom of speech in academia were doing half as well as Israel, it would be a great improvement. — DM)

Editor’s note: UCLA is the latest school to be named to the Freedom Center’s report on the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” It joins the campuses of Brooklyn College (CUNY), Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Vassar College on the list. These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.

Last night, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between SJP and Hamas terrorists on the UCLA campus. UCLA administrators such as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Jerry Kang have previously labeled similar Freedom Center posters “ethnic slander” and an effort to “trigger racially-tinged fear.” These posters pose a challenge to the UCLA administration to abandon these attacks on speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism, and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus.

University of California-Los Angeles: Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Gene Block, Chancellor:

UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang has undergone  extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as “an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing” despite SJP’s constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.

In one widely noted expression of the group’s anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.

Such incidents violate UCLA’s Principles of Community which state, in part, “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities.”

Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP’s continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP’s mock “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as “Al-nakba” or “the catastrophe.”  But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them.  In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were  “designed to shock and terrify,” and accused the Freedom Center of using “the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear.” In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused “chilling psychological harm” and “focused, personalized intimidation.”

University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating “Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community.”

Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.

In addition to the incidents listed above, UCLA SJP holds an annual “Palestine Awareness Week” on campus featuring speakers who endorse the genocidal BDS movement against Israel. SJP’s 2016 event featured journalist Max Blumenthal, who stated during his address that suicide bombing against Jews is justified by “the occupation” and described Palestinian terrorists as “young men who took up arms to fight their occupier.” He also compared Israel to the Islamic state, calling it “‘JSIL,’ the Jewish State in Israel and the Levant.” Another speaker, Miko Peled, also defended Palestinian terrorism, renaming it “a struggle for freedom and justice and equality,” and describing terrorists as “very brave Palestinians who are engaged in fighting this brutal occupation.” Peled also described Jews as analogous to Hitler, calling Jewish soldiers “young little Jewish gestapos,” and further accused Israel of “massive, violent, brutal oppression,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and of being “a colonialist, apartheid, racist system.”

Nor is such hate speech directed at Israel and Jews restricted to SJP events. In 2015, UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies held a conference on “Palestine and Pedagogy” during which speakers compared Israel to the Nazis, praised anti-Israel terrorism and supported the BDS movement against Israel. UC Irvine Professor and Director of the UC Institute for Humanities Research Theo Goldberg accused Israel of practicing “eliminationist racism” similar to the Nazis’ and claimed Israelis view Palestinians as  “vermin, cockroaches, rats, snakes…that take boots on the ground to get rid of.” Goldberg further charged that Israelis make “snuff films” featuring the deaths of innocent Palestinians which go viral resulting in “an orgasm” for Israelis. Meanwhile UC Riverside Professor David Lloyd called Israel “a colonial Zionist project that has become a…nightmare, ever more rigid and oppressive” and endorsed the right of Palestinians to take up arms against Israel.

This hate speech was ignored by Kang and Block and other appeasement-minded UCLA administrators.

Kang’s support for SJP and its pro-terrorism agenda was also evident in his lack of support for second year law student Milan Chatterjee, president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UCLA.  When he attempted to keep the GSA out of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction controversy on campus, Chatterjee was subjected to such severe harassment by SJP and Kang that he resigned. He later announced he was leaving UCLA to continue his law degree elsewhere because of the “hostile and unsafe campus climate” created by groups supporting the BDS movement on campus in concert with the UCLA administration.

Chatterjee wrote in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block: “It is unfortunate, indeed, that your administration has not only allowed BDS organizations and student activists to freely engage in intimidation of students who do not support the BDS agenda, but has decided to affirmatively engage in discriminatory practices of its own against those same students. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that the UCLA campus has become a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish students and non-Jewish, who choose not to support the BDS movement, let alone support the state of Israel.”

In comments made to the media, Chatterjee also stated, “I filed a complaint with the office of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang, who took zero action and refused to investigate… This is very disturbing behavior and shows a double standard at play at UCLA. If SJP files a complaint, they will bend over backwards. If it’s anyone else, they don’t care.”

In their zeal to defend pro-terrorist campus organizations like SJP, both Kang and Block have not hesitated to violate the First Amendment rights of their critics. The taxpayers of the state of California would be well advised to take note of their actions.

Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

August 26, 2016

Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

by Johanna Markind

August 26, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

  • “The [American Bar Association] wants to do exactly what the text calls for: limit lawyers’ expression of viewpoints that it disapproves of. … state courts and state bars should resist the pressure to adopt it.” — Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor and Washington Post columnist.
  • The language of Resolution 109 is “so broad it could mean anything… a kind of a speech code that restricts perfectly acceptable speech… anything you say might offend someone and therefore you can be punished for it.” — Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute.
  • The ABA declined to answer questions for this article, as did the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU, which calls itself “our nation’s guardian of liberty,” and touts itself as fighting for “your right… to speak out – for or against – anything at all,” has not issued any statements or press releases about the model rule revision.

The struggle between free speech and speech codes that are intended to prevent harassment and discrimination appears set to leap from college campuses to law offices around the United States.

On August 8, 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) approved resolution 109, which curtails freedom of speech. The approved resolution amended its model rule of professional conduct 8.4. It prohibits

“conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.”

The official comment explains:

“discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others. Harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct.”

The model rule is non-binding, but has potentially great influence on professional conduct rules that state courts require lawyers to follow. Should state courts adopt the change, lawyers found to violate it could be sanctioned and possibly disbarred. Because professional rules are legally binding on lawyers, the prospect that states may regulate “verbal conduct” implicates First Amendment concerns.

The ABA declined to answer questions for this article, as did the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU, which calls itself “our nation’s guardian of liberty,” and touts itself as fighting for “your right… to speak out – for or against – anything at all,” has not issued any statements or press releases about the model rule revision.

Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute’s senior fellow in constitutional studies and editor-in-chief of Cato’s Supreme Court Review, views the ABA resolution as “a kind of a speech code that restricts perfectly acceptable speech. It’s like safe spaces on college campuses, where anything you say might offend someone and therefore you can be punished for it.”

Many American colleges, motivated at least partly by a desire to protect members of growing minority populations on campus, have adopted speech codes. The codes have arguably fostered a culture chilling free speech, enabling people who claim offense to shut down dissenting voices. The past two years, for example, have witnessed members of a student government impeached for wearing mini-sombreros to a tequila-themed party, a college master hounded into resigning for publicly disagreeing with a college’s cautionary note not to don offensive Halloween costumes, and a professor accused of racism and pressured into taking a sabbatical for supporting the state of Israel’s fight against a recognized terrorist organization.

Paul Kazaras, assistant executive director and staff counsel to the professional guidance commission of the Philadelphia Bar Association, agrees that college speech codes are problematic, but says:

“I think this [ABA resolution] is something fundamentally different. We are talking about a profession having ethical rules that already restrict lawyers, and what’s more, Pennsylvania’s Constitution gives its Supreme Court the authority to regulate the practice of law. There needs to be a way to make sure lawyers act ethically.”

Kazaras believes the change is needed to address bias that is still pervasive in some places, which has “no place in a professional world.” By adding an affirmative duty to lawyers’ ethical obligations, Kazaras says, junior lawyers and other law office employees have a needed tool to cope with special hardships they face in rectifying harassment. According to Kazaras,

“In most workplaces, if a senior manager harasses someone below him/her, the victim can complain through HR [human resources]. HR will then approach the manager and explain, ‘You can’t do this anymore.’ That doesn’t fit within law firm culture. It’s hard for a woman, person of color, person with disabilities, etc., to say, ‘You can’t treat me that way.'”

Laws already exist regulating the work environment, Kazaras notes, and adds, “I think compliance with the new ethics rule should in fact lower the instances of litigation by employees against law firms, and that is a good thing.”

Ilya Shapiro acknowledges that lawyers are already restricted by special rules — for instance, rules limiting lawyers’ speech by requiring them to be courteous to opposing counsel and parties — but believes the proposed model rule change “goes far beyond any existing ethical guidelines. I think it’s a much bigger step” than existing rules, says Shapiro, “like boiling a frog.”

Shapiro believes the revision also “goes far beyond existing employment laws barring harassment.” Workplace harassment, Shapiro explains, “is limited to conduct so offensive and pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment.” By contrast, the language of Resolution 109 is “so broad it could mean anything.” If someone believes he or she is being harassed, Shapiro argues, that person might be able to make a colorable claim under the model rule.

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who authors a Washington Post column on free speech issues, has written that the new model rule is significantly broader than existing workplace harassment laws, both in terms of what statements are covered, and in what settings they may be prohibited. For example, he fears that a lawyer presenting at a continuing legal education (CLE) program, who makes a statement critical of, say, homosexuals or Muslims in the course of the program, may thereby violate professional rules based on the new ABA guideline.

Kazaras, a longtime ethics consultant for the Philadelphia Bar Association, doubts statements made for the purpose of instruction during a CLE program could lead to liability.

Regardless of how that particular issue plays out, Volokh infers from the fact that the ABA moved ahead and adopted the new model rule, despite the many objections raised, “that the ABA wants to do exactly what the text calls for: limit lawyers’ expression of viewpoints that it disapproves of.” State courts and state bars, Volokh writes, “should resist the pressure to adopt it.”

Johanna Markind is an attorney who writes about public policy and criminal justice.