Monday, May 16, 2016

My Letter to UC Irvine's Office of Academic Equity Diversity and Inclusion-And Response

                  "One person's hate speech is another person's education."

Below is the text of an email I sent to Mr Douglas Haynes, Vice Provost of the UC Irvine Office of Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on May 13, 2016.

It is in response to a campus-wide message he sent out this past week in response to a coming appearance of conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos and a poster announcing same that appeared on campus. Some in the UCI community are objecting to the appearance as well as the poster. The below report is from the blog, Campus Reform.

My email, while not objecting to Mr Haynes' response regarding Yiannopoulos, asks why the same concern is not shown for Jewish students given the fact that the annual anti-Israel hate week had just concluded featuring a speech by anti-Israel Neturei Karta Rabbi Ysroel Dovid Weiss. A report of that speech with video can be viewed below:

On Monday, May 16, I received a response from Mr Haynes, which follows (below my letter).

From: gfouse
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 5:12 PM
To: Douglas M. Haynes 
Subject: Your message to UCI re: Milo Yiannopulos

Dear Dr Haynes,

My name is Gary Fouse. For the past 17 years I have been an adjunct teacher at the UCI Extension teaching ESL although I am not teaching this quarter. I am writing to you in connection with your campus message to the UCI community in connection with the upcoming speaking appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos and its possible impact on UCI's LGBT community. My purpose is to draw your attention to another UCI community that merits your attention-the Jewish students at UCI in the wake of the latest week of anti-Israel events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine and others.

I am not very familiar with Mr Yiannopoulos or his presentations. I understand that he is a gay conservative who mocks political correctness, and that some of his act is considered offensive to other gays. I am not taking issue with your comments regarding this appearance. If some students feel they need a support mechanism to deal with this event, that is their business.

However, as a Gentile who for several years has been closely involved in observing rising anti-Semitism not only at UCI, but on other UC campuses, I ask why Jewish students do not get this kind of concern when year after year, these anti-Israel events come to our campus. While mere criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic, these events are part of a movement that has contributed to anti-Semitism and intimidation of Jewish students nation-wide. I attend most of the events in question and have done so since 2007. I have seen the anti-Semitism and heard it expressed by some MSU-sponsored speakers. In addition, I have documented it and complained about it for years. The so-called "apartheid wall" that has appeared year after year has contained several threatening images and messages. In 2008, it had a caricature of Ariel Sharon drawn in the old Nazi style of Der Stuermer with all the stereotypical facial features assigned to Jews by rabid anti-Semites. This year, it featured (once again) a drawing of the Palestinian terrorist and hijacker Leila Khaled as well as calls for violence against Israel. What are Jewish students to make of that? Does that increase their comfort level? When is the university going to address issues like that? When is the university going to address the fact that for the past two years, MSU and SJP have used the Cross Cultural Center as a staging area to march out and disrupt I-Fest? Please note that I was a witness to the above images on the apartheid wall as well as the two I-Fest disruptions. As far as I know nothing was ever done by UCI in response and no statements were issued to reassure Jewish students.

Most recently, I spoke at two of the UC Regent working group meetings as they were drafting a new statement of principles on intolerance that specifically addresses anti-Semitism on campus. As you know the University of California has now declared its intent to address cases of anti-Semitism on UC campuses. This after years of complaints by Jewish students had gone unheeded. The Regents affirmed that certain forms of anti-Zionist attacks can indeed be anti-Semitic.

Last week, I attended the speaking appearance of Neturei Karta Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. It was the second time I have heard him speak at UCI. This is a fringe character who represents a fringe group not even recognized by mainstream Judaism and who aligns himself with those who would destroy Israel including the government of Iran. Perhaps, we can draw parallels between a gay comic who allegedly contributes to homophobia and Rabbi Weiss, who in my opinion, contributes to Jew hatred. You and others object to Yiannopoulos as well as the wording on a poster on campus announcing his coming appearance. Others would object to the MSU and SJP sponsoring the words of Rabbi Weiss that contribute to anti-Semitism. In fact, during his appearance, Weiss attacked his Jewish detractors by conjuring up old stereotypes about Jews being shrewd liars who control the press and politicians, as well as being swindlers like Bernie Madoff etc.

I fully acknowledge that what I complain about is still protected speech, and I am not calling for anyone's right to free speech to be taken away no matter how objectionable. In the same light, Mr Yiannopoulos enjoys the same right of free speech.

Here is my point: The LGBT community at UCI is not the only group that feels threatened. It is time that UCI start paying attention to the comfort level of Jewish students as well. The UC Regents made a commitment when they issued their statement of principles. The university has an obligation to live up to it. What I ask is that UCI extend the same support to Jewish students when they are victimized as it does to other groups. You have exercised your own right of free speech in responding to Mr Yiannopoulos' coming appearance. The university also has the right to exercise its own free speech in response to anti-Semitism on campus.

Thank you for your attention.

Gary Fouse
Here is the response:
Dear Gary Fouse,

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. As you know, UCI is a space for the free interchange of ideas. It is quite true that some positions and viewpoints may indeed offend members of our campus community. This commitment to free speech is capacious enough so that any  community member may rebut attacks that offend. Indeed, Chancellor Gillman in his April 29 message to the campus on Free Speech and Mutual Respect put it this way “…when members of our community are subjected to hateful, discriminatory and inflammatory personal attacks, we speak out in support of them. The same First Amendment that protects offensive and even hateful speech also protects our right to oppose and condemn speech that is inconsistent with our values.” ( If you believe that you experience or witness behavior that is inconsistent with our campus Principles of Community, please submit an intolerance report at the

Thank you again for reaching out to me. I appreciate your engagement in this important matter. Please know that my office remains open to all members of the UCI community to further efforts to promote inclusive excellence.

Expect Equity, Support Diversity and Practice Inclusion,

Douglas M. Haynes
Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Office of Inclusive Excellence

Director, ADVANCE Program
Professor of History
Director, Medical Humanities Inter-School Excellence Initiative


Blah blah blah, woof woof woof, quack quack quack.Talk about a fill-in-the-blank form letter. Not one word about the specific problem I mentioned. Not one word about Jewish students. Compare this language with the language Mr Haynes used in response to the Yiannopoulos issue.

This just confirms what I have been saying all along. In academia, it all depends on who the affected group is. If they are Jews, it's no big deal.

To me this is further proof that these diversity and inclusion offices in our universities are phony, useless, a waste of money and resources, and selective in whom they serve.

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