Milan Chatterjee and Antisemitism at UCLA

From: Bob Jack
Date: September 6, 2016 at 7:15:02 PM PDT
To: “Chancellor Gene D. Block”
Subject: Re: Milan Chatterjee

Dear Chancellor Block,
Thank you for your thoughtful email regarding the subject matter.

I am very concerned about what I perceive as a high degree of radicalism expressed onnumerous campuses throughout our country.

Too often campus uprisings involving CAIR, MSA and other radical pro Islamic elements try to silence free speech of other groups. Too often they protest the free-speech of others for the mere reason that these other voices areoffensive to Muslims. Our First Amendment rights must not be silenced by any group and I am particularly sensitiveto the
radical Islamic movement in this countryas more and more sharia adherent Muslims take root in our nation and attempt to shout down our constitutional liberties and freedoms with which they do not agree in many instances. Please be aware that I am not in anyway attempting to criticize those Muslims who are firm believers in our constitutional form of government and will stand up and fight for our rights under US doctrines well-established.

I am happy to hear about your pro Israeli and pro Jewish sentiments. There is too much hate filled anti-Semitic behavior throughout the globe today and we must act to prevent it where ever it occurs.

Thank you again for your letter response to the concerns that I expressed and I wish you the very best in creating an environment at UCLA where free speech and expression of ideas by all concerned parties can be played out in a way that helps fulfill the very purpose of the University-to learn and grow. Very best, Bob
Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 6, 2016, at 5:56 PM, Chancellor Gene D. Block wrote:

Dear Mr. Jack:

Thank you for reaching out to me to express your concerns about recent events at UCLA and I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.

Throughout my nearly four decades at two of the nation’s great public universities, I have come to appreciate that the dynamic exchange of ideas and opinions can be both enlightening and, at times, divisive. With the freedom of expression, however, comes an individual and communal responsibility to ensure that dialogue is respectful and constructive.

Over the past week, there has been much written about the events surrounding our former Graduate Student Association president, Milan Chatterjee. I was very sorry to learn that Milan will complete his law degree at another institution and I am concerned that some are suggesting that the UCLA administration did not do enough to assist Milan. While I will not delve into the details, I can tell you that based on the facts, I am confident that UCLA acted with the utmost of integrity, care and respect for Milan and for all of the students involved in the situation. We made substantial efforts to get to the heart of the dispute between Milan and his fellow students, and to encourage all sides to de-escalate heated rhetoric. I want to point out that at no time did the fact-finding review by the Discrimination Prevention Office, within the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, lead to sanctions against any student. Importantly, I do not believe that Milan intentionally violated any school policies.

Though I have confidence in our actions and response, we must make certain we are doing everything that we can to ensure that every member of our community feels respected and safe. Freedom of speech and expression on our campus does not come with the right to harass or intimidate. Disciplinary actions pertaining to harassment are handled through our Dean of Students office and, depending on the severity of the action, can lead to suspension or dismissal for the offending parties. The University has a number of resources available to support students, staff and faculty who believe that they are the targets of harassing behavior. We encourage all to take advantage of those resources.

We must also do a better job engaging with our student leaders on the roles and responsibilities of governance and the policies and procedures to which we all must adhere. I have directed our Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Scott Waugh, to work with our Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Monroe Gorden, to oversee this effort.

The discussions surrounding the Middle East have proven emotional and difficult on campuses across the country and we have seen the unfortunate consequences on our own campus. The UC Board of Regents has been clear that viewpoint neutrality is a binding requirement on student government allocation of mandatory student fees: both supporters and opponents of divestment from Israel remain free to advocate for their position as long as their conduct does not violate university policies.

That said, I wish to reiterate that UCLA does not support divestment from Israel. I personally am extremely proud of our numerous academic and cultural relationships with Israeli institutions. We have a thriving and vibrant Jewish community at UCLA and I know from engaging with many of its members, that they truly believe that UCLA is a welcoming and nurturing community for their beliefs. That it remains so is non-negotiable. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism or discrimination against any member of our community. We will not allow groups or individuals to harass others, whether based on beliefs, opinions or speech.

It is not always straightforward to find the line between permitted speech and prohibited harassment, but we must find that line and adhere to it. Teaching our students how to be mindful of this distinction is our responsibility as educators.

To that end, I plan to deepen my engagement with campus and community leaders, listen carefully to their concerns, and make certain that there is no misunderstanding of my commitment to insure a respectful and welcoming campus. UCLA is a world-class university and the diversity of our campus is one of our greatest assets. I believe in the power and purpose of UCLA and in the values on which we stand.

Best,

Gene

Gene D. Block

Chancellor

From: HoustonJac@aol.com [mailto:HoustonJac@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 4:34 AM
To: Block, Gene ; chancllor@ucla.edu
Subject: Milan Chatterjee

Dear Chancellor Block,

The university’s handling of the case of Milan Chatterjee is reprehensible. It reflects a strong anti-Israel anti-Jewish sentiment on campus and within the top ranks of the administration of what used to be a great institution. What went wrong here is a direct reflection of your administration and your inability to take control and make balanced intellectually sound decisions within the framework of a highly charged political issue. Strong Islamic, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment is a scourge today at many of our universities – add UCLA to this list.

Unless you clean up this hostile environment and become the academic bastion and beacon of light that you are supposed to be, this university will be damaged irreparably and for a long time if this mess is not cleaned up – and the buck stops with you.

Yours truly,

Bob Jack

North Las Vegas Nevada

702-355-2303

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