Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"......And All I Got Was This Lousy......"

"Y'all doin' a hell of a job"

This week, a well-meaning correspondent who shares my concern about the hate speech being spouted at UC-Irvine suggested that I send my views to Rusty Kennedy, the director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission (OCHRC). Not knowing anything about Mr Kennedy or the OCHRC, I went ahead and sent Mr Kennedy an email expressing my concern about the anti-Semitism at UCI during Muslim Student Union events and my disappointment at the failure of the UCI Administration to confront this filth. To say the least, his response was disappointing. It was also nasty.

Here is my original email to Mr Kennedy: (I apologize for the line problems-too much cutting and pasting, I guess.)

Dear Mr Kennedy,

My name is Gary Fouse, and I am an adjunct teacher at UCI-Ext (ESL).
I have been in that position since 1998 (subsequent to my retirement
from the Drug Enforcement Administration. I am writing to you per
the suggestion of Dr Brian Levin, CSUSB to give you my perspective
as a teacher at UCI regarding the quarterly events hosted by the
Muslim Student Union on our campus.

Recently, I have heard that various figures in the university
administration have described critics of the MSU events and their
speakers as "hysterical Jews", "troublemakers, "outside groups", etc.

I am neither a "hysterical Jew" (I am not even Jewish) nor am I an
outsider. I have seen and heard what is happening for several years. I can tell you:

1 The claims of hate speech made by Jewish students are justified. When we listen to the words of Amir Abdel Malik Ali, Abdel Musa, and Mohammed Al-Asi, we hear them call for the destruction of Israel, glorify suicide bombers as heroes and martyrs, rail about "Zionist Jews", advocate the destruction of the Jewish state, defend terrorist organizations like Hizbollah and Hamas, condemn America, refer to Jews as "lowlife ghetto-dwellers" (Al-Asi)and on and on and on.

This past week, the "Wall" erected by the MSU had a characterture of
Ariel Sharon, drawn with a hooked nose and over sized lips, exactly in
the style of Julius Streicher's, Der Stuermer, the virulent, anti-Jewish
newspaper of the Nazi era. How was this allowed to appear on a
university campus?

Also this week, during Al-Asi's speech in front of the flagpoles, while
he was spouting his racist rhetoric, a group of about 20-30 small
schoolchildren were gathered yards away by their bus listening to this
man's vile words. Meanwhile, university deans (who are known to be
antagonistic toward the Jewish students' concerns, were scurrying around like hall monitors, moving peaceful Jewish student protesters with their "hate Speech" warning posters here and there and keeping walkways open while ignoring the kids being exposed to this garbage.

2 The leadership of this university clearly has no concern for the
concerns of Jewish students. They have dismissed numerous complaints and shown every indication that they are more sympathetic to the MSU and their inciteful speakers. This past week, David Horowitz, in his talk at UCI, described UCI as the worst university campus in the nation when it comes to MSU radicalism. There were two deans in the audience, one of whom took copious notes on her laptop, yet none of them even attempted to defend the university in the question and answer session. When I told Mr Horowitz that 99% of the students at UCI were not involved in this
ugliness, I told him that we had 2 problems: the MSU and an administration that is hiding under their desks, either out of fear, apathy or they just don't care about their Jewish students. They did not respond to me either.

They can't.

Why is it that hundreds turn out to hear and applaud the words of
Hamas/Hizbollah, Iran supporter, Norman Finklestein including numerous
deans and faculty, but only 20 come to hear Nonie Darwish, a courageous
woman who has left Islam, condemned terror and defended the US and
Israel? I was the only faculty member present (and I am only a
part-timer). No deans (except one pacing outside the hallway who could
not bring himself in to hear Ms Darwish's words) were present.

Sir, as a part-time teacher, who has no tenure nor long-term contract, I
am fully aware that what I am doing and saying jeopardizes my continued
employment at UCI. They don't even have to fire me-just tell me they
have no available classes for me next quarter. I am willing to accept
those consequences to stand up for what is right.

This is not about free speech. It is about inciteful speech. If this
situation is not addressed, someday there will be a tragedy on the
campus, and everyone will be wringing their hands wondering how it could
happen at UCI. I won't be wondering.

I thank you for your attention, and you may feel free to share this
letter with whomever you deem appropriate.


Gary Fouse
Adjunct teacher

Here is Mr Kennedy's response:

Dear Mr. Fouse

Thank you for sharing your perspective on the issues pertaining to UCI
and the state of Jewish/Muslim/Arab relations there.

The OC Human Relations Commission has been deeply involved at the
request of the UCI administration, students, faculty and community
groups for many years on campus seeking to build a safe, inclusive
community where bigotry is frowned upon.

In our years of experience at UCI we have attended the events of all of
the sides in this struggle to inform our perspective. We have engaged
in conversations, dialogues, discussions and disagreements with all
sides. We also carry this work out on other college campuses in Orange County
where similar issues arise.

Additionally since our inception in 1971 we have provided comprehensive
intergroup relations and tolerance teaching programs that reach over
40,000 students in OC schools annually. We founded in 1991 and have
hosted regular meetings/trainings since then of the Hate Crime Network a
broad based community/law enforcement network dedicated to building a
community wide collaboration at responding to and preventing hate crimes
and incidents. We conduct police and community trainings, forums,
leadership development programs and dialogues to build understanding
between diverse communities that make up Orange County.

Where I agree with you in some of your characterizations of hate mongers
who have spoken in OC and at UCI, and regularly speak up to condemn this
bigotry, I take strong exception to your comments about UCI and
particularly your insulting, demeaning and inaccurate statements about
the administration.

In our extensive experience with the UCI administration we have never
heard any of them address the concerns that you outline, (and I think
they all share) with anything but appropriate concern. And we have
never heard them calling those community members who speak out on this,
Jewish and others, anything derogatory. In fact, I have seen them time
and again address even the most passing comments of hate, bigotry or
fear as absolutely top priority, seeking to document, investigate and
appropriately respond.

I do not know what you have done to address the bigotry that exists in
our community, on campus and across our country, but I have seen the
extraordinary steps taken by UCI administration, from the Chancellor, to
the Vice-Chancellor, to the Dean of Students, on down through the ranks
to condemn bigotry, respond decisively to hate crime, and to set a
community standard that works to discourage hate.

I see that you go on with statements like, "the leadership of this
university clearly has no concern for the concerns of Jewish students".
Rather than respond to this unfair comment I will let the Jewish
students speak for themselves as to the lack of veracity of your claim.

You report that you are risking your job to speak up for what is right,
this is a noble act. I would hope that you would be more thoughtful about your accusations and hostility to well meaning efforts; more constructive in your engagement; more mindful of the impact of your diatribe; if indeed you seek to do what is right.



Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director
Orange County Human Relations Commission
1300 S. Grand, Bldg B
Santa Ana, CA 92705
fax 714-567-7474

MISSION: Fostering mutual understanding among residents and eliminating prejudice, intolerance and discrimination in order to make Orange County a better place for ALL people to live, work and do business.

Here is my response sent yesterday. Attached to it is a report posted by Red County Blog of an incident that occurred at UCI last Thursday night:

Dear Mr Kennedy,

I am sorry that you took offense to my email. You probably think that I am some radical "bomb thrower". I am neither. I am retired from law enforcement (DEA). As such, I know a volatile situation when I see it, and I have seen it for several years at UCI. What I am is a concerned citizen simply reaching out to those who should be concerned about hate speech on a university campus.

I will not engage in further debate with you on the performance of the UCI Administration. I have expressed my opinion, and you have expressed yours. I will stand by what I said.

I should state that I was warned that writing to your office was a waste of time, and I won't take up any more of your valuable time. I would, however, like to attach a posting from this morning's Red County blog about an incident that reportedly happened at UCI last Thursday night. I have no personal knowledge and cannot vouch for it, but I will attach it for whatever inquiry you may deem appropriate. It makes reference to the response of the university, in this case, the campus police.

"UCI PD Allow Muslim Students to Attack Jewish Woman
Posted by: Jonathan Constantine | 05/18/2008 9:38 PM

The attacks from MSU members continued after Amir Abdel Malik-Ali's evening lecture. According to a member of the Orange County community who witnessed the event, a young Jewish female who was filming the event was followed back to her car and surrounded by 6 male members of the Muslim Student Union. When officers from the UCI Police Department arrived at the scene, they stood idly by and watched as the Muslim students began to assail the witness. When the witness (turned victim) called the police department for answers, they explained that the MSU members were just "getting back at the Jews:"

"On Thursday May15, 2008 I went to the UCI campus to hear a talk: Death to Apartheid, A Farewell to Zionism. Since much of my life was spent fighting the apartheid system in my native country of South Africa, I was interested to hear speakers who probably had not personally lived through that time. I noticed that there were many people filming the speaker's presentation. Afterwards, I walked
to my car in the university underground parking. I noticed a young woman standing backed up against her car. She was surrounded by at least 6 males who appeared to be of university age. There was an additional young man who appeared to be with the girl. She looked scared and I asked her if she was OK. She said she had called 911. I have 4 children aged 22-30, and was very concerned for her safety. I did notice she had a camera and that she was not engaged in talking with the 6 males that had surrounded her and her car. I thought they wanted her camera but she was not taking photos. She told me that they wanted to see the license plate on her car. Since they were not the police, I thought this to be very strange. I realized that they were trying to photograph her license plate.

I breathed a sigh of relief when the police arrived. I attempted to describe to them the scene that I had just witnessed. The policeman replied sarcastically: "good ---- do you feel better now that you got that off your chest". I was shocked! My emotions had swung like a pendulum. From the initial fear at seeing the young woman being harassed, to relief at the sight of the police, and now back to fear, as I the realized that the arrival of the police would not provide the protection that I had anticipated. At this point it occurred to me that these were University of California, Irvine campus police. I know that police are usually interested in a witness statement, and what I saw was intimidation of two people in a parking lot who were outnumbered 3 to 1. To my amazement the police refused to take a witness statement from me.

By asking the girl if she was OK, I had somehow become involved in this altercation, and now my safety was in jeopardy. After the officer had expressed his disinterest in my account, I turned to enter my car to head home. The patrol car, though, was blocking my vehicle and preventing my exit. At this point another woman came walking by. I was too afraid to speak, but welcomed seeing another woman there. She said it was not safe to be there in the parking structure and that I should try to get out. I showed her that I could not, since my car was blocked. I asked if she was part of the university administration, as I did not think she was a student. She said that she just happened to be walking through the parking lot - I remembered thinking that it was strange that it was after 10 pm and this is not a parking lot you just walk through. I Shrugged off my suspicions. The woman then told me that I could go to other "meetings" with her. She described the meetings as the same as the ones held on campus, but at different venues, such as hotels. At that minute the young boy who had been with the girl student ran over to me and asked for my phone number. Simultaneously, the police angrily shouted to him to get into his car.

After the woman left, I noticed that one of the "intimidators" was situated on the hood of my car in an attempt to photograph the VIN number under the windshield ( he lifted up the windshield wiper to get a better look at the number). He glared at me in a way I will describe as intimidating and menacing. Then he took photos of my car's license plate, and then snapped photos of me. All the while the police officers were present and did absolutely nothing! I asked for their card and told them that if anything were to happen to my person, family or property, that I will hold them and the university responsible.

Once I arrived home, I called the Irvine police and old them what had happened. I asked if it was reasonable for the police to not take a statement or to protect me, and that was definitely not the protocol. It was recommended that I speak to the watch commander. I was put through to them and a lady Lori said she would call him. I told her my concern was about what I saw in the parking garage. After awhile she said he was not available and she further informed me of the following: the 2 people in the parking lot were Jewish and they had been harassing the Muslim students on campus during the day, and the Muslim students were simply getting back at them. I had not asked her what the incident was about, but she volunteered that information. I told her that what I saw was two people outnumbered and surrounded in the parking structure, and I was concerned because the girl looked terrified. It was ludicrous to portray her as capable of harassing anyone. I told her that I did not feel safe and that I was phoning to report the lack of concern on the part of the police to take my eyewitness account. They did nothing to assure that I got safely out of the parking structure. I have reported this to the university and have been told that someone would contact me. My complaint to the campus police has so far gone unanswered, as well.

Even if the 2 Jewish students had in some way "wronged" the Muslim students earlier that day, was it appropriate for the Muslim students to take things into their own hands? Is vigilantism now acceptable and legal on University of California campuses? The incident has left me struggling with many things. How do the police come to a conclusion regarding this event, while refusing to take a witness statement? If I was scared, how do students feel when confronted with menacing behavior? If we can not depend on police officers to protect us and to intervene in a tense situation, who can we depend on? What were they waiting for- property damage or physical injury? Is the university administration and their campus police in charge of maintaining law and order and a safe campus environment? Or do they allow gangs of students to assume control of the campus through intimidation?"

Thank you for your time and attention,

Gary Fouse

Since then, I have learned more about this county agency. It is apparently another liberal, feel good agency, created in 1971, that has a big budget (Mr Kennedy reportedly makes $131,000 per year). Kennedy is a former organizer for the United Farm Workers. They do things like conduct sensitivity seminars and compile hate crime statistics. Yet, it seems to me that their attention to hate issues is selectively placed. Kennedy obviously thinks that UCI is doing a great job of addressing these issues as it pertains to anti-Semitism. I disagree.

I would hope that Mr Kennedy and his agency would look into the alleged incident described above (of which I have no personal knowledge). If true, I would maintain that the alleged "response" of the Campus Police would belie the statements made above by Mr Kennedy. Hopefully, Mr Kennedy and his agency will do their job.

But I won't hold my breath.


Roger W. Gardner said...

Hi Gary -- Maybe this will make you feel a little better.
Congratulations! We made the Chicago Post-Tribune. The complete article.
Roger G.
PS: Did you get my long email response? We've got to talk.

Gary Fouse said...


I did not get the email. Can you fill me in on the Chicago Post-Tribune? I tried to find something on the URL you sent without success.

Gary Fouse said...


I got it. Thank you for spreading the word. I will let Red County know.