Thursday, April 7, 2016
An Open Letter to SFSU President Leslie Wong, et al
Below is a letter I have sent to San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong, CSU Chancellor Timothy White and SFSU Interim Police Chief Reginald Parson concerning the April 6 disruption of a speaking event featuring the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Birkat. I am including their email addresses in case the reader would like to send a letter as well. (Please be respectful.)
To Leslie Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco State University
CC: Timothy White, email@example.com (Public Relations)
California State University
Reginald Parson, Interim Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Dr Wong, Chancellor White and Interim Chief Parson,
I am writing to you in connection with the April 6 disruption at your school (SFSU) of a speech by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Birkat. As you well know by now, about 15 pro-Palestinian students loudly disrupted a speech by Mr Birkat. It is also reported that your campus police stood by and did nothing in spite of the fact that the disruption was a clear violation of Mr Birkat's right of free speech as well as the right of his audience to hear what he had to say.
If this were an isolated instance, it would be one thing. Unfortunately, it seems to be part of a pattern. We already know that in 2013, members of the General Union of Palestinian Students produced posters that read, "My heroes have always killed colonizers" which were publicly displayed on campus. During the following year, another GUPS member made a videotape of himself with a knife fantasizing about murdering Israeli soldiers.
What kind of an institution are you running here?
As you must know, the University of California (a separate institution) recently passed a statement of principles on intolerance that specifically addressed the problem of anti-Semitism on campus. It appears that CSU is also in need of a similar statement.
Brown Shirt tactics have no place on our university campuses. Regardless of one's position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, all students-including Jewish students -have the right to attend school and hold speaking events free from disruption and intimidation. We in the public-Jewish and non-Jewish- are sick and tired at seeing the public universities that we support with our tax dollars turned into places of intolerance and thuggery.
I myself am a part-time teacher at a major California university. The name of the school is not important since I am writing as a public citizen and not as a university representative. I am also a retired law enforcement officer who is sickened at seeing campus police stand around like potted plants while the rights of others are trampled upon by a bunch of Brown Shirts.
If you gentlemen are incapable of running a campus free of disruption and intimidation by a few students, then you should resign, get out of the way, and allow someone to come in who will protect our students and their First Amendment rights.
Orange County, California