Support Jewish Students at the University of California

StandWithUs recently launched an online petition drive in support of a July 9 report on Campus Climate at the University of California highlighting campus anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.

In response to the report, entitled “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team Report & Recommendations,” some anti-Israeli students and community members – ironically, some Jewish students -  decried the report’s findings and said that it’s not representative of the Jewish community at large. They created an online petition denouncing criticism of anti-Zionist sentiment in the UC system.

Unfortunately, this report fails to meet minimum standards for accuracy and sound methodology and offers only a partial view of Jewish life and culture on UC campuses. The report excludes the experiences and values of many Jewish students who are connected to and critical of the state of Israel; it misrepresents support for Palestinian rights and inquiry into Israeli policy as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic acts; and it suggests, in marked contrast to all available campus life surveys / quantitative evidence, that UC campuses are hostile environments for Jewish students. In short, the report distorts campus life, and it includes recommendations that threaten free speech on campuses.

StandWithUs, on the other hand, supports the report and is asking past/current UC students, faculty, and community members to sign their petition. Here’s a brief description of it:

On July 9, 2012, a report entitled “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact Finding Team Report and Recommendations” was presented by Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP, and Richard Barton, national education chair of the Anti-Defamation League, to the University of California (UC) President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion. The report was commissioned in June 2011 by the advisory council in order to identify both the challenges faced by, and positive experiences of, Jewish students attending UC campuses and to recommend steps needed to make UC campuses more inclusive and welcoming for Jewish students and the community at large.

The report followed a fact-finding process from October 2011 to May 2012, which involved a team visiting six UC campuses–Santa Cruz, Davis, Irvine, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The researchers interviewed students, faculty, and community members to paint an overview of the diversity within these campuses, especially within its significant Jewish student population. It outlined the many nuances and at times diverse political views within the Jewish community on these campuses. The report concluded with a list of recommendations, inviting the UC system to develop model institutional protocols that will ensure that bigotry, intimidation, and undue bias are marginalized, that Jewish students, faculty, and community members’ rights to free speech are protected, and that the university sets clear guidelines for responsible, reasonable debate.

It is extremely unfortunate, but not surprising, that a petition has surfaced recently within the UC system denouncing the validity and veracity of the Huffman/Barton report and calling upon the UC President’s Advisory Council to dismiss the report. Students, alumni, faculty, and parents are invited to sign a petition denouncing the claims and the recommendations articulated in the report. It is absolutely essential that this dismissive, opposing petition be countered effectively and immediately.

The opposing petition reflects the very problems that the report describes: bias and an effort to silence or deny the experiences of many Jewish students, faculty, and community members. Only the report on Jewish students is being criticized for its methodology, even though it used the same methodology as the report on Muslim and Arab students, which was not criticized. The report documented what many Jewish students, faculty, and community members described as their experiences, but opponents are trying to deny the validity of these reported experiences. The opposing petition denies that criticism of Israel can cross the line into anti-Semitism by rejecting the EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism, even though the U.S. State Department and the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education both adopted the EUMC working definition.

As someone who identified with the Jewish community during my time at UCSD, I lend my full support to StandWithUs’s petition and the UC Campus Climate report. Please sign it and share it.

Good News: No #Occupying in My Future

It has been nearly two months since I graduated from UCSD and moved to Washington, D.C. Since I arrived here it’s been nonstop fun, work, reflection, and pondering. Being halfway across the country has proven interesting. At times, I’ve felt homesick longing for my family and friends back in California. Most of the time, though, I’ve felt welcomed and have enjoyed my time here in the nation’s capital. If I have any doubts about my move, I always remember this: my beloved home state is America’s Greece.

How can I sum up my summer internship at CNSNews.com/MRC? One word: amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to interview elected officials, activists, and policy makers. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and acquaint myself with some of the finest young conservative activists here in the District. Moreover, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, Texas, for FreePAC and the chance to explore my surroundings. AND, I haven’t succumbed to the DC Establishment bubble. (I will continue to defend conservatism.) Overall, it’s been a great summer -  I couldn’t ask for a better one!

Now that I’ve completed my internship at the CNSNews.com division at the Media Research Center, what possibly could be in store for me next? #Occupying? Testifying in front of Congress for government-subsidized birth control? Protesting American Exceptionalism?

None of this; in fact, quite the opposite.
Starting next week, I start my job as the Northeast Regional Field Coordinator for the Leadership Institute (LI). I will be covering the states of CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, and VT. I will help students form campus groups, start alternative papers, and expose liberal bias. And I will connect them to conservative organizations and present them with internship/work opportunities.
I’m excited to be traveling into the belly of the beast known as New England. Since I’m from California, I think the students I will meet and interact with with find solace knowing that I was and am one of them – a conservative activist who desired to change their campus (and community) for the better despite living in a blue state. I hope to inspire them and lead them on the right course.

I look forward to sharing my journey with each and every one of you. Godspeed!

Young Conservatives Should Attend Values Voter Summit

All conservatives – especially young conservatives – should attend Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. this September 14-16, 2012, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

The 7th annual conference will be more exciting than ever given the fact that this year’s conference falls right before the general election.

This will be my 2nd VVS conference, having served on the 2011 VVS NSEAB youth board and attended the conference last year. I am on the  NSEAB youth board again, and look forward to recruiting more young folks to the conference.

Our 2011 board was fantastic. I made some of the greatest friends from that experience. (All board members are pictured minus Aaron Wong.)

We recently expanded our youth board and welcomed some great youth activists to the team. (Stay tuned!)

That being said, this year’s student activities will be bigger and better than last year’s.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Friday Night Student Mixer: FREE Pizza and a great opportunity to network.
  • Keynote Address by Gen. William Boykin, former commander of Delta Force.
  • Right vs. Left Debate: The Chairman of the College Republicans, Alex Schriver, will take on Rod Snyder, Chairman of the Young Democrats of America. The debate will cover many hot topics of the day and be moderated by Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller.
  • Job and Internship Fair hosted by the Leadership Institute’s ConservativeJobs.com.
  • Saturday Afternoon Breakout Session: Millennials and the Future of Political Engagement

Students can apply for conference scholarships here.

Hope to see you there!

 

July 2012 – CNSNews Articles

Here are the articles I wrote for CNSNews.com during the month of July.

July 6: Target Donates 100% of Gay ‘Pride’ T-Shirt Sales to Group Advocating Same-Sex Marriage 

July 10: ICE Chief: AZ Immigration Enforcement Program Was ‘Not a Good Use’ of Tax Dollars 

July 12: Rep. West: Obamacare Is ‘Really Nothing More than a Tax Law’ 

July 17: AFL-CIO Demands ‘Second Bill of Rights’–Including ‘Rights’ to ‘Full Employment,’ ‘Living Wage,’ ‘Healthy Future’ 

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