Response to Report of the UC Regents’ Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance (UAW 2865)


View in PDF format: UAW2865RegentsIntolerance031816

Response to Report of the UC Regents’ Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance (UAW 2865)

2030 Addison Street, Suite 640A
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: 510-549-3863 Fax: 510-549-2514

March 18th, 2016

To: Janet Napolitano, University of California President
The University of California Board of Regents
Professor Kathleen Montgomery, Chair UC Committee on Academic Freedom
Professor Dan Hare, Chair, University-wide Academic Senate
Anne L. Shaw, Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents

The UAW 2865 Joint Council strongly opposes the Report of the UC Regents’ Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance. While the actual text of the “Principles Against Intolerance” policy (found here[1], beginning on page 8) is relatively uncontroversial, the introductory report reads “Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California,” thus directly conflating anti-Semitism (anti-Jewish bigotry) with anti-Zionism (a political ideology embraced by many, including large numbers of Jews) and labeling both as equivalently intolerant positions. While anti-Semitism is indisputably a form of discrimination, one which our union staunchly and vocally opposes, equating it with anti-Zionism is incredibly dangerous. It creates a clear chilling effect on free speech that could affect not only campus political activity, but the scholarship of many graduate students and faculty.

In addition, the introductory report makes it seem that anti-Semitism is the primary form of bigotry occurring on UC campuses, even as their own campus climate survey[2] shows Jewish students reporting the highest levels of comfort with campus climate (pg. 58-59). Only a few sentences in the Report are dedicated to all other groups facing discrimination, many of whom reported much higher levels of discomfort with campus climate in that same survey. Though it is paramount for all forms of bigotry and intolerance to be opposed, the Regent’s Report demonstrates a clear lack of awareness of the issues faced by many communities on campus.

Disturbingly, Julia Friedlander, Deputy General Counsel for the University of California Office of the President, has told the union that even the University’s lawyers have “conflicting opinions” as to whether the introduction is enforceable. The UC Regents will vote on whether to adopt this statement in less than five days, and they don’t even know what the statement means.

For these reasons, the UAW 2865 Joint Council expresses our unwavering opposition to the Working Group Report on Principles Against Intolerance as currently written and call on the Regents to start a new, transparent, and inclusive process[3]. Short of that, we call on the Regents to amend the document, removing the problematic introduction that, in addition to improperly conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, minimizes or ignores intolerance experienced by many campus communities.


The UAW Local 2865 Joint Council


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