A Resolution Condemning Islamophobic Hate Speech at the University of California

Hello Community,

I rarely post about a specific bills, but this one in specific will have a special place in my heart. The bill addresses the hate speech UC Santa Cruz lecturer and the inaction by the UC Office of the President to address this issue. You can see the hateful words of ignorance for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnSlbOhZgGI and read the bill below!

Tonight I want to thank the MEMSA community members who showed up tonight and were brave enough to share the harsh realities faced by the Muslim community in post-9/11 America. I also want to thank Senator Sadia Saifuddin for consistently being open in sharing her experiences as a Muslim womyn. I am extremely grateful that I have been able to meet you and learn more about your experiences. I think it is extremely important for all people to become educated on issues facing the Muslim community. We must deconstruct the innacurate and ignorant anti-Islam narrative that often plagues our minds through the way in which the media shapes our knowledge of the Middle East and the Muslim community.

Forever an ally of the Muslim community,


A Resolution Condemning Islamophobic Hate Speech at the University of California

Authored By: Senator Sadia Saifuddin

Co-sponsored By: Senator Sadia Saifuddin, Senator Klein Lieu, Senator Rosemary Hua, Senator George Kadifa, Senator Daley Vertiz

WHEREAS, the University of California has identified the issue of campus climate as a priority for administration, staff, and students across the UC system; and,

WHEREAS, the UC prides itself on welcoming students from any race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, yet pockets of racism and hate still exist on this campus which makes the UC an unwelcoming experience for certain communities; and,

WHEREAS, Islamophobia is defined as the irrational fear of Islam, Muslims, or anything related to the Islamic or Arab cultures and traditions; and,

WHEREAS, since September 11, 2001, Islamophobia has become the latest “hazing” technique across the United States and has created a chilling effect for Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians in their communities, work-environments, and campuses; and,

WHEREAS, according to a Gallup Study, 60% of of Muslim Americans say that Muslims face prejudice from Americans [1]; and,

WHEREAS, 48% of Muslim Americans say that they have personally faced racial or religious discrimination, which is on par with Hispanic Americans (48%), and African Americans (45%), while 54% of Arab Americans say they have experienced this type of discrimination[2]; and,

WHEREAS, since 2006, Muslim students have been targeted for surveillance by the FBI in Orange County, who said that they are paying particular attention to Muslim students at UC Irvine and UCLA; and,

WHEREAS, this surveillance is occurring on the East Coast as well, with the New York Police Department surveillance of Muslim students at Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Rutgers, New York University, and Brooklyn College [3]; and,

WHEREAS, these racist and selective surveillance procedures are justified by figures in mainstream media, such as David Horowitz, who defines the core mission of the MSA to “advance the Islamic Jihad against the Jews and Christians of the Middle East, and ultimately against the United States”, and,

WHEREAS, attempts to mischaracterize and chill Palestinian activism have occurred on Berkeley’s own campus, with a lawsuit filed in July 2011(later dismissed in court) against the UC Regents and President Mark Yudof containing extremely Islamophobic and anti-Arab rhetoric referring to Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslims Students Association as “anti-Semitic” and “pro-terrorist”; and,

WHEREAS, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that “the more publicly active SJP may be understood as the more militant arm of the outwardly benevolent MSA” and that SJP, MSA, and MSU all “fund terrorism” and are tied to terrorist groups; and,

WHEREAS, more recently, UC Santa Cruz lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin has been responsible for inciting racist and Islamophobic rhetoric by claimings that students in the MSA and SJP are “…generally motivated by very strong religious and political convictions, they have a fire in their belly, they come to the university, many of them are foreign students who come from countries and cultures where anti-Semitism is how they think about the world … These are not your ordinary student groups like College Republicans or Young Democrats. These are students who come with a serious agenda, who have ties to terrorist organizations.”; and,

WHEREAS, claims such as those cited above create an unsafe and divisive environment for Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian students, and others who may be perceived as being of similar descent, and these claims are completely opposite to the values of a premier university system; and,

WHEREAS, the President of the University of California, Mark Yudof, is responsible for advocating for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation; and,

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx#2

[2] http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx#2

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/nyregion/nypd-muslim-monitoring-and-a-climate-of-fear.html?_r=0

WHEREAS, the University of California is no place for hateful and inflammatory rhetoric and holds its students, faculty, staff, and affiliates to higher standards that promote a positive and inclusive campus climate; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the ASUC condemn the remarks of lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and those described in the above-mentioned lawsuit as hateful and inflammatory; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC urge President Mark Yudof to condemn these inflammatory, hateful, and racist assumptions by UCSC lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin against Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian students, and Palestinian rights activists; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that EAVP Shahryar Abbasi write a letter to UCOP condemning the racist and bigoted language by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and President Yudof’s failure to address the matter, as well as passing a similar bill with UCSA; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC urge other campuses to pass similar bills in their respective student governments.


PRESS RELEASE: ASUC Textbook Scholarship Program


UC Berkeley, March 7th: The ASUC Senate approved Senate Bill 52, A Bill In Support of the ASUC Textbook Scholarship Program authored by CalSERVE Senator Daley Vertiz, CalSERVE AAVP candidate Valerie Jameson, and Monica Ruiz, on the consent calendar Wednesday night. The bill passed unanimously through the Constitutional and Procedural Review Committee of the ASUC Monday night.

The ASUC Textbook Scholarship Program aims to directly address the increasing costs of textbooks, which have risen at more than double the rate of US inflation in the past twenty years. The new ASUC program will provide students with the opportunity to apply for scholarships ranging from $100-$250 to be used for textbooks at the Cal Student Store. A portion of the funds awarded will be refueled into the ASUC through its commercial relationship with the Cal Student Store.

Students from all economic backgrounds will be eligible to apply for this scholarship; however, the strict allocation breakdown of funds will divert the most resources to students most in financial need. The allocation breakdown aims to make the greatest impact on students most affected by the soaring costs of textbooks.

The passage of SB 52 allocates $2000 a year to this new ASUC program. The authors of the bill hope to work towards the long-term sustainability of this scholarship through a comprehensive fundraising effort across various campus departments. Students can look for the release of the Textbook Scholarship application in April on the ASUC website.

For more information, please contact:
Daley Vertiz
ASUC Senator

ASUC Textbook Scholarship Press Release

A Bill In Support of the ASUC Textbook Scholarship Program