Friday, May 1, 2015

My Letter to UC Irvine Re: I-Fest Protest

Below is the-email I have sent to the below-named UC Irvine officials regarding the I-Fest incident on April 23.

Thomas Parham, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs,
Edgar Dormitorio, Chief of Staff, Student Affairs,
Rameen Talesh, Dean of Student Affairs,
Kevin Huie, Director, Cross Cultural Center,

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to express my concern over the incident April 23, in which pro-Palestinian students loudly disrupted the I-Fest event hosted by Anteaters for Israel. While I will not challenge the First Amendment right of these students to express their feelings, however boorishly, I question the appropriateness of the Cross Cultural Center once again allowing its facility to be used as a staging area for students to disrupt Jewish events on campus. I also question the actions of Mr Shalom Elcott of the Orange County Jewish Federation during the event.

I was present and witnessed the protesters coming out of the CCC to begin their protest. This is the second straight year I have witnessed this occur. In addition, when the Oren event was disrupted by the Muslim Student Union in 2010, they were caught on video with a leader directing them to go back to the CCC for a “debriefing”.

Last year, after the anti-I-Fest disruption, I wrote a letter to CCC director Kevin Huie expressing my concern. I never received a response. After what I witnessed last week, I find myself wondering whether the CCC is putting its imprimatur on the disruption of Jewish  pro-Israel events on campus. I welcome any response from Mr Huie that would indicate I am wrong.

In addition, I would like to ask how it is appropriate for  Mr Elcott, the CEO of the Orange County Jewish Federation, to come onto this campus, get in the face and berate the young Jewish female student head of Anteaters for Israel, who organized I-Fest this year. Who gave him authority over Jewish students at UCI? I hope you will look into this incident.

Last week’s incident was an ugly end to what had started as a peaceful and positive I-Fest event. Make no mistake: This has attracted national attention and represents another black eye for the university.

Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns.

Gary Fouse
Adjunct Instructor

I await their response and will post it when available.

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