Campus Beat Reporter
Last Tuesday evening, the Student Commission on Racial Equality hosted a seminar entitled “Combating Anti-Semitism” to educate students on the history of prejudice against Jewish communities – much to the anger and disappointment of several Jewish students on campus.
Several students aired their grievances to Associated Student senators at their weekly meeting on Wednesday to shed light on what they believed to be a troubling lack of communication with various Jewish communities on campus. Tuesday’s event, hosted by SCORE, was led by a graduate student and attended by several Jewish Voice for Peace members.
Second year film and environmental studies double major Rose Ettleson, who also sits on the board of students at the Santa Barbara Hillel, expressed disappointment that SCORE failed to reach out to Hillel, one of the largest Jewish student groups in the community. Ettleson also pointed to the fact that the event was held on the last night of Passover, a celebration that would impede many Jewish students from attending the event in the first place.
“It is the right of any minority group to define what hate against them is, and to have an event go on that is not representative of the group in question seems pretty questionable,” said third year economics major Jack Tannenbaum.
Fourth year biopsychology major and former A.S. senator Niki Elyasi also expressed concern that the A.S. entity reached out to JVP only because it aligned with political beliefs concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict.
“If you were holding a meeting for another minority group, that’s equivalent to barring all the Republicans of that minority group from discussing something that has nothing to do with their political perspectives but everything to do with their ethnicity and what they come from, their religion,” Elyasi said.
SCORE co-chair and second year history of public policy major Luvia Solis and SCORE conference coordinator and fourth year global studies major Evelyn Diaz were present at the meeting and apologized to the students affected.
“This workshop was not meant to be a one-and-done situation,” said Solis, who, along with SCORE, had planned the event in response to student concerns over a cartoon published in the Daily Bruin in February. “The information was presented from a more historical viewpoint that explained a lot of the anti-Semitic tropes you see and how we can combat them, but it was our mistake that we didn’t reach out to everyone in the community to be a part of it.”
Since last Tuesday, Solis has reached out to Elyasi on behalf of SCORE to coordinate an additional anti-Semitism prevention workshop at the upcoming “Facing Race” conference.
“I want to make it clear that just the fact that an A.S. entity, and that A.S. entity being SCORE is the one to even hold an event like this says something,” said Elyasi later in the meeting. “I think that it’s a great step and I know that … the intention of SCORE was to be welcoming and I appreciate that a lot.”
Ettleson encouraged senators to facilitate dialogue between BCUs and minority communities to prevent this from happening in the future.
“I urge you to request that all of you reach out to the constituents you represent and go into their safe places, mine being Hillel, and make yourself known,” said Ettleson.