The University of California Student Association (UCSA) board of directors on Nov. 20 expressed regret for several aspects of a resolution two months earlier that condemned HR35—a unanimously passed State Assembly resolution urging California schools to squelch nascent anti-Semitism and crack down on anti-Israel demonstrations.
UCSA’s board said in a statement that it was “unaware that the resolution would be presented by members of UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine” and also unaware of “the confidential e-mail communication happening between members of SJP.” The board said it agreed that such procedure “undermines the democratic process.”
“This issue has prompted the board to re-evaluate its procedures and guidelines regarding the co-sponsoring of resolutions by third-party organizations,” the board said.
The board recognized the “negative impact that the resolution’s language had on the Jewish community and our campus climate” through the inclusion of phrases such as “illegal occupation” when referring to Israel. The UCSA resolution’s main focus was supposed to be the protection of freedom of speech, but its language went astray and “blurred the lines between advocating for free speech and taking a stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” according to the board.
Regarding the resolution’s discussion on Shabbat, the board said that move was not made “with the intention of excluding Jewish students from the conversation,” but rather, with scheduling considerations in mind. The board said it is willing “to take the necessary steps to be more considerate and inclusive of different students and their religious practices when determining the UCSA calendar for next year.”