The University of California System, The LGBTQ Community, and Anti-Semitism

After the state of North Carolina repealed parts of its LGBTQ legislation, the NCAA made the decision to once again make the state eligible to host NCAA championship events. The state of California has now issued a travel ban pertaining to eight states – Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas. California state employees are banned from using tax money for travel to any of these eight states.

The reason for the ban is due to the interpretation that these states either have legislation in place that discriminates against the LGBTQ community or, in the case of Kentucky, has enacted legislation that allows student organizations to discriminate against certain groups of people on campus. It is believed that the Kentucky legislation is also focused upon the LGBTQ community.

The Golden State forbids its employees from using tax money to travel to Kentucky. State leaders claim to be taking a stand against discriminatory practices and don’t want to give the appearance that they support those beliefs by providing revenue to a state such as Kentucky. This ban could have potential ramifications on California public universities playing away games in the eight states mentioned.

This is nothing but virtue signaling. Again.

The reason California’s apparent action against inequality is virtue signaling is that the state doesn’t apply this wide stroke of the morality brush across the entire spectrum. If California were to be consistent, its leaders would first look at themselves and what their own public universities have been permitted to get away with.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well within the University of California system. A study done in 2016 by the AMCHA Initiative, documented this wide-spread anti-Semitism.

According to the anti-Semitism watchdog group AMCHA Initiative, 69 anti-Semitic incidents occurred on 20 different California campuses during the recent academic year. UC Berkley led the way with eight instances, followed by UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz with seven each.

Back in 2015, UCLA student Rachel Beyda stood before the student council’s nomination committee. Rachel was hoping to be nominated to the student council’s Judicial Board. Her loyalties and her ability to be impartial were called into question based on her religious affiliation. Rachel is Jewish and her nomination was first rejected based on her religion. Again, this was based on religious discrimination. A faculty advisor was eventually able to convince the board to revisit her nomination and she was eventually named a member of the Judicial Board.

I urge you to go back and click the link on Rachel Beyda’s name if you haven’t already done so. Pay attention to the title that was etched on Adam Nagourney’s article; In U.C.L.A Debate Over Jewish Student, Echoes on Campus of Old Biases. “Old” biases? If these were truly old biases, the events surrounding Rachel’s nomination never would have taken place and The New York Times wouldn’t have had a story to publish on March 5, 2015.

In 2016, the University of California’s Board of Regents issued its Final Report of the Regents Working Group On Principles Against Intolerance. This report helped institute the system-wide policy known as the Principles Against Intolerance. University of California organizations that engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric believed the report discriminated against them. The truth of the matter is that this policy is nothing but window dressing as it’s more bark than bite when considering the lack of consequences for violating this policy.

In 2015, at the University of California-Berkeley, it was reported that the phrase “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was found written on a bathroom wall. During that same year, a swastika was found on another university building.

The stance that the state of California has taken with Kentucky and the other seven states is mere virtue signaling. State legislators are telling the world that they stand against discrimination wherever it’s found. Except, of course, in their own state. And except when it’s anti-Semitic discrimination.

It’s true that California hasn’t passed legislation that allows anti-Semitism. But legislation isn’t needed for the state to issue what amounts to the sanctioning of anti-Semitism. If this weren’t the case, I’d expect a louder outcry of condemnation from the capitol building in Sacramento.

What the state’s lawmakers did in 2015 was “unanimously approve a measure urging the University of California to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism.” The word “urging” suggests that the tone coming out of Sacramento was if you do it great, if not, no big deal.

California is taking a firm stance when it comes to the perceived discriminatory policies of other states. If your state’s school wants to schedule a California team to a home-and-home, it had better think about how it treats discrimination. As for the schools within the University of California system? Those schools continue taking non-committal, soft stances on what goes on at their campuses when it comes to anti-Semitism. The state of California doesn’t seem to have much of an issue with what goes on in its own house.

The state of California could take a more definitive stand against anti-Semitism. It’s just more convenient and less controversial to take that stand with the LGBTQ community.

E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

Photo: Flickr

Comment on this and every article by becoming a Campus Pressbox Insider.

And while you’re at it, Subscribe to our podcasts.


Previous ArticleWill Lacrosse Pass Basketball as Cleveland State’s Premier Sport? Maybe.Next ArticleIt’s Time to Play the College Football Version of Would You Rather?
Seth is the Managing Editor of Campus Pressbox.