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The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

Associated Students Senate delays vote on Resolution Condemning Antisemitism

Associated+Students+Senate+delays+vote+on+Resolution+Condemning+Antisemitism
Image by Hana Tobias for The UCSD Guardian

Editor’s Note: This article contains possibly triggering quotes and focuses on the current humanitarian crisis occurring in the Gaza Strip. Speakers have been granted full or partial anonymity due to safety concerns. 

On Nov. 1, the A.S. Council did not adopt a resolution that would condemn antisemitism and apologize for endorsing a letter on Oct. 25 that labeled Israel as an “apartheid state.”

The resolution was titled “Resolution Condemning Antisemitism and Committing to Fair and Equal Representation of the Jewish Community at UC San Diego.” 

The A.S. Council endorsed a letter by Students for Justice in Palestine at UC San Diego on Oct. 25. The letter expressed sympathy for the Palestinian people amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The letter was written in response to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s statement agreeing with an earlier statement by the UC Board of Regents. SJP specifically criticized the statement for not mentioning Palestine or the suffering of Palestinians. 

Six senators voted in favor of the resolution, 11 voted against it, and nine members abstained.

Photo by Mila De La Torre

 

Even though the resolution failed to achieve a majority of “yes” votes at this meeting, the A.S. Council is likely to reconsider it at a future meeting with possible amendments. 

There were dozens of speakers during the public input section of the A.S. Council meeting on Nov. 1. Many of the first speakers were affiliated with the organization Tritons for Israel. The speakers conveyed their disagreement with the A.S. Council-endorsed letter. 

One of those speakers who criticized the letter was sixth-year Ph.D. student Alexandria.

“This is not free speech. These are the words of those calling for violence against Jews. I’m a Jewish mother, and I am carrying a Jewish baby,” she said. “I am here today to state my condemnation for the behaviors and words of this group and for not notifying the Jewish community and Tritons for Israel of the last meeting.” 

Some speakers expressed sympathy towards A.S. and claimed that the resolution from Oct. 25 was only adopted because Senators felt pressured to do so in the heat of the moment. 

“I don’t think that it’s fair to be mad at all of [the A.S. Council] because A.S. felt bullied into the statement that they endorsed last week, but you need to imagine how we feel now and just imagine how I’m still afraid to wear my Jewish star necklace,” said speaker Brooke during the public input period of the meeting. “I implore you — please take care of the Jewish students in this community.” 

SJP was concurrently holding a protest due to the attendance cap put in place for this meeting. Members of SJP said they felt that they did not get adequate notice to be able to attend and have their voices heard. SJP initially staged a sit-in on the second floor of Price Center. Then, they moved outside to continue protesting, which was audible from the fourth floor where the A.S. Council meeting was taking place. This caused the Senate to close the doors at multiple points so that the protest did not interrupt the public input period.

Although many of the initial speakers spoke against the previous resolution, students from SJP spoke during the later section of the meeting, defending the statement from Oct. 25 and criticizing the Nov. 1 resolution. 

An anonymous speaker on behalf of SJP, only referred to as Eleanora, was one such person to defend the letter.

“As a proud Jewish student, I am here to say that the letter [the A.S. Senate] signed last week was not antisemitic … I don’t feel that, as someone who is Jewish, that antisemitism on campus is because of SJP,” Eleanora said.

Later in the meeting, following the public comment period, the senators discussed the Nov. 1 resolution and invited further comments from the public. 

“The problem was never ever with the Jewish community, rather administration and their poor handling of the news delivered,” an anonymous speaker from SJP said. “We don’t stand for antisemitism, we don’t tolerate antisemitism.”

The same speaker further defended the letter from Oct. 25.

“Our statement had well-cited sources … it is crucial as a university where people look to us as a pinnacle of knowledge that we hold our ground in the sense of advocating for what’s right, which is calling out a genocide when we see it is happening,” the anonymous speaker from SJP said. 

Many A.S. senators also weighed in with their personal opinions on the resolution.

“I feel like we should keep our apology in this resolution,” Sen. Eric Chen said. “We were pressured and intimidated and unprofessionally interrupted … It was like a January sixth mob-style attack. This being said, I feel like, for this resolution, we do need more time to think about this resolution. We should not rush again because we already made this mistake once.”

Chen voted in favor of the resolution.

Sen. Safiya Siddiq disagreed with Chen and critiqued the apology portion of the resolution. 

“I think that if we do move to approve the statement, [the apology for the Oct. 25 letter] should be taken out because for one, I think we should stand by the fact that we did that, and two, it makes us seem like we are retracting a statement which I don’t think would look good for us,” Siddiq said. 

Siddiq voted against the resolution.

One of the issues that some members of the public had with the Oct. 25 resolution was that the letter was endorsed despite the item being added to the Order of Business within 72 hours of the A.S. Senate meeting, which is a violation of A.S. Senate rules.

Some senators, including Sen. Richey Li, wanted to adhere to the 72-hour rule for this new resolution.

“I think it’s really important that we have this discussion now, but because this [resolution] was submitted so last minute, I don’t think I would feel comfortable voting on this,” Li said. “However, right now I think there is some discussion that could be done outside of the Senate in terms of rewording the resolution or discussing the implications of the resolution.”

Li abstained from the vote to endorse the resolution.

A.S. Senate meetings occur every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at The Forum at Price Center and can also be watched via Facebook live stream.

On the Resolution Condemning Antisemitism and Committing to Fair and Equal Representation of the Jewish Community at UC San Diego

Data Visualization by Ifunanya Okoroma for The UCSD Guardian
Yes (6) No (11) Abstention (9)
Eric Chen
Ivan Ramirez
Verina Leung
Prityush Goraya
Tina Huang
George Chi Ioi Lo
Mercedes Limón
Sofia Earley
Madeline Mercado
Leslie Calderon
Jared Blackwell
Raigan Johnson
Safiya Siddiq
Rick Mandal
Kevin Hovland
Joshua Hwang
Eduardo Tapia Jr-Urbieta
Nelly Zapata-Castillo
Christina Marie Green
Alex Lujan
Marysol Valdez 
Elizabeth Lopez
Hannah Nguyen
Mia Van DeLoo
Richey Li
Asha Krishna 

 

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About the Contributors
Carter Castillo
Carter Castillo, News Editor
Second year Comparative Politics Major and passionate student journalist. Proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius.
Hana Tobias
Hana Tobias, Photographer
Hana is a fourth year Cognitive Science major.
Ifunanya Okoroma
Ifunanya Okoroma, Data Visualization Editor
Ifunanya (if-uh-nahn-yuh) is a third-year data science student who spends their free time trying to be the most pretentious human being alive by consuming copious amounts of docuseries and taking Spotify way too seriously.
Amanda Parmele, Photographer
Mila De La Torre
Mila De La Torre, Photographer
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