At our recent Joint Council meeting, UAW 2865 endorsed the following Solidarity Statement. We urge you to sign the petition in support of free speech at the UC!
In response to the UC Office of the President’s recent reports on campus climate UAW 2865, the union for TAs, readers, and tutors at the UC, reiterates its support of free speech rights for students, staff and faculty at the UC campuses. While it is important to promote a campus that is safe for students of all descents and political views, several recommendations included in the reports contain misrepresentations of the campus population and have the potential to seriously curtail the free speech rights of members of the community.
In specific, the report concerning Jewish students on campus advocates that the speech of pro-Palestinian students on campus be curtailed, based on the conclusion that speech critical of Israel is offensive to Jewish students on campus. As has been reiterated by Jewish students across the UC and by organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace, this assumption negates the experiences and opinions of Jewish students who express solidarity with Palestinians, criticism of Israel, and/or are active members of groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine. Building on this flawed assumption, the report recommends restricting the speakers whom departments and campus groups can invite and defining hate speech or anti-Semitism in a manner that may conflate criticism of Israeli state policy with hatred of Jews. These recommendations are particularly troubling and have been flagged by groups such as the National Lawyers Guild as serious restrictions on free speech.
In response, UAW 2865 reiterates that while it condemns anti-Semitic and bigoted hate speech, criticism of Israeli state policy are not anti-Semitic. The UAW supports the rights of students, staff, and faculty on campus to exercise free speech, and strongly opposes proposed restrictions on speakers and activities of student groups on campus.