On Monday, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law fired off a letter condemning the anti-Semitism within the University of California at Los Angeles’ Undergraduate Student Assembly Council (USAC). The Brandeis Center pointed to the videotape of the USAC’s debate over whether a student involved in the Jewish community could properly be appointed to the Judicial Board.
The Center blasted the Council’s treatment of the Jewish student as “outrageously discriminatory,” adding that it “blatantly violates UCLA rules, and raises serious questions of federal civil rights compliance.” LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus declared, “This deplorable UCLA student government debate raised old-fashioned canards about whether Jews could be entrusted with delicate positions in light of supposedly divided loyalty. It is a throwback to old racist views of the sort that have long since been discredited. Shame on UCLA’s student government for indulging in this display of stereotypes and defamations.”
At a February 10 meeting, where USAC considered an appointee for a Justice position on their Judicial Board, the Brandeis Center presented UCLA’s chancellor and vice chancellor with online videotape evidence (on YouTube) showing that a Jewish female candidate was criticized for her involvement in the Jewish community. Two UCLA USAC councilmembers asserted that the Jewish student’s involvement in Jewish organizations made her unfit for the UCLA Judicial Board. Although the female candidate was confirmed, the very fact that the USAC considered the question caused The Brandeis Center and its UCLA law student chapter to ask Chancellor Block and Vice Chancellor Montero to immediately investigate the situation take prompt remedial measures, publicly condemn the action, and meet with LDB’s UCLA law student leadership to discuss this matter further.
The two council members questioning the Jewish student’s fitness for the position wrote respectively:
My issue is, I’m going to be upfront about it, I think she’s clearly great. She’s smart, she like knows her stuff, like probably going to be a really great lawyer. But I’m not going to pretend this isn’t about conflict of interest . . . . I just think this is a stupid political move, and it really bugs me and that’s how I see it and I can’t separate that out. . . . It’s not her fault… but she’s part of a community that’s very invested in USAC . . . . and I can’t separate those two from being together, even if she’s the right person for the job . . . .
For some reason, I’m not one hundred percent comfortable. I don’t know why . . . . I’ll go through her application again. I definitely see that she is qualified for sure, I just worry about her other obligations, obviously.
The Brandeis Center pointed out that the USAC’s discussion surrounding the vote appears to have violated UCLA’s Principles of Community and nondiscrimination policies and raises concerns under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.