November 14, 2012
Contact: Lisa Armony, Director, Rose Project 949-435-3848
Irvine, Calif., Nov. 14, 2012 – In a move that contradicts UC policy, UC Irvine’s student government last night passed a recommendation calling on the campus to divest itself from companies that do business with Israel. The nonbinding resolution was drafted and introduced with no forewarning by a small group of students with a personal, political agenda and deliberated in the absence of students with opposing views.
“For the past five years, the Orange County Jewish community, the Consul General of Israel and the UCI administration have built close relations and strong academic ties to Israel that benefit UCI students, faculty and the community,” said Shalom C. Elcott, President and CEO of Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County. “That work will not be undermined by divisive efforts that constitute an abuse of student representation and are contrary to the interest of students who wish to partake in the valuable opportunities that global engagement brings.”
The UCI administration affirmed in a statement released today that the UC Board of Regents’ policy requires divestment only when U.S. government action deems it necessary. As no such declaration has been made regarding Israel, the nonbinding resolution is out of order and a violation of UC stated policy.
“Sadly, the manner in which a small number of students pushed for this secretive resolution represents the antithesis of democratic student representation,” said Jeff Margolis, Co-Chair of the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services. “Those individuals who misled their classmates into passing the errant resolution either did not do their homework to understand the University of California’s policy regarding divestment, or their actions were purely politically motivated to press their personal agenda and gain publicity. If it was the latter, I have little doubt that higher-purposed UCI student leaders and students will appropriately address this procedural transgression.”
“The UCI Jewish student community applauds the administration’s steadfast, contrary response to the resolution said Laryn Roehm, President of Hillel at UC Irvine. “Respect for diversity of ideas and cultures is central to the UC Irvine campus experience and our Jewish student community will continue to be a vital part of this diversity through constructive dialogue and civility that serves the best interest of all students and our community.”“I am deeply proud of our Jewish student leaders who are committed to building a vibrant Jewish student life on campus” said Daniel Y. Harris, Executive Director of Hillel Foundation of Orange County.
About Jewish Federation & Family Services: Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) brings together people, partners and resources to care for people in need, to build a vibrant community, and to sustain and enhance Jewish life. JFFS grants and programs ensure lifesaving humanitarian services; care and connection for seniors; educational opportunities for youth; leadership on our campuses; and a strong relationship with Israel and global Jewry.