- json version
- email this article
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Chancellor Gene Block
Sunday, May. 18, 2014 at 4:28 PM
Chancellor Gene Block has released a statement to the UCLA community regarding the ethics statement, and the intimidation of pro-Israel and Jewish students on campus
To the Campus Community:
Over the past week, many of our students, as well as friends off campus, have communicated their concerns over a pledge that candidates for our student government were asked to sign prior to last week’s elections. Heated exchanges have occurred over the issue and have unfortunately left some feeling disrespected or targeted because of their views or affiliations. Certain news reports and other communications through social media have also mischaracterized aspects of the situation, fueling an unhealthy discourse that is harmful to our campus climate. Robust debate is vital to democratic learning, but it can never exclude common sense, civility and tolerance for those who disagree.
First, let me set the record straight on the facts, as we understand them: Students active in student government, who have varying views on Israel–Palestine issues, have participated in the recent past in free trips to the Middle East organized by Jewish groups. Prior to the recent student elections, some student groups asked candidates to sign a pledge promising not to go on such trips. The pledge was not sanctioned, proposed or required by our current student government or the university administration. No one was barred from running for office, participating in the election or serving on the council as a result of not signing the pledge. Some students signed, others did not. Both signatories and non-signatories won offices. The decision to circulate this pledge and the choice to sign it or not fall squarely within the realm of free speech, and free speech is sacrosanct to any university campus.
Second, just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive. I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others. I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion. I condemn any remarks on social media or elsewhere that are disrespectful or hurtful.
Political speech that stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups. It does not strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and engagement that sustain a diverse community able to manage differences; it weakens them. If we shut out perspectives, if we silence voices, if we allow innuendo to substitute for reasoned exchange of ideas, if we listen only to those who already share our assumptions, truth gets lost, our intellectual climate is impoverished and our community is diminished.
Passionate debate is to be expected in a civil society, especially in a heated election season, but I am personally concerned any time people feel disrespected, intimidated or unfairly singled out because of their beliefs. Important issues will generate passions, even discomfort — that cannot be avoided. But if the political debate on campus gets more shrill and less nuanced, if hostility replaces empathy, if we see each other as enemies rather than as colleagues trying to figure out how to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, we will all be the lesser for it. It is possible to express strong opinions without belittling others.
Today I am calling on our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to explore how to better foster political dialogue that is respectful, productive and focused on understanding rather than division. UCLA faculty, students and staff deserve an open environment that encourages vigorous debate without disparagement.
Gene D. Block
Report this post as:
In LA, San Diego, Sacramento and 147 Other Cities, McD And Other Fast Food Workers Picket
Did LA pro-Israel group conceal right-wing identity from Hollywood celebs and media?
Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus
Anti-blackracism in the U.S.
New Zine on Activist Collective Living
LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 2 of 2
LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 1of 2
Running Down the Walls 2014
Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery Extends Exclusive Engagement
Los Angeles Declares “Hands Up!” in Peaceful Protest of LAPD Murder of Ezell Ford
Ezell Ford and Ferguson Solidarity
Family and Supporters of #Justice4Fords Protest LAPD Execution of Ezell Ford in South L.A.
Southern California Swarms to Save the Bees in Solidarity with Honey Bee Day Around the Gl
More Local News...
ISIS Destroys Memorial & Church of Armenian Genocide in Der Zor, Syria
Enlisting Support for Imperial War
Karl Polanyi - Still Actual 50 Years After His Death
Telling It Like It Is On Israel
Paraphysique de la prohibition
Video: "The Roosevelts," 7 episodes
Fear-Mongering Ahead of Another US False Flag?
maps of disappearing Palestine
Gaza Speaks Out: Hamas War Crimes
MSM War on Venezuela
Hate-Mongering in America
Firestorm Over Steven Salaita's Sacking
Scotland's Referendum: Fair or Foul Play?
Humanitarian disaster unfolding today: IS encroaches on Kobane on five fronts
Israel's Hannibal Directive
Are Govt, University And Corporate Labs Spreading Ebola?
Flashback to 2001: President Assad to Prime Minister Blair:'Stop bombing Afghan civilians'
Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Washington
Creative Community for Peace
The Shortwave Report 09/19/14 Listen Globally!
UCLA Center for Near East Studies charged with racism
Anti-Assad Extremists and Obama Plan Coordinated Attacks on Syria
Ukraine's President in Ottawa and Washingto
Le système, ses agents, ses exécutants
The Failure of the Block the Boat tactic
Israel's Ruthless Agenda
National Football League Violence
Bomb Abroad Spank At Home
More Breaking News...