December 20, 2007
Briefs: Three plead guilty in SoCal terror plot; Report says UCI acted properly
(Page 2 - Previous Page)However, O'Grady faulted the federal report as "too dismissive" of the Jewish students' complaints, including the rejection of some alleged incidents because they occurred more than 180 days before the filing of the complaint.
"I also find it astonishing that when a campus speaker urges that all Jews be thrown into the sea, that this is not considered anti-Semitism," he said.
But O'Grady also credited UCI with taking a number of remedial steps to lessen campus friction.
UCI's Gomez cited as examples a campus program by the multifaith organization Abraham's Vision, joint dinners by Jewish and Muslim students, town hall meetings by UCI top leaders with Jewish community groups, and recent campus speeches by such pro-Israel advocates as Alan Dershowitz and Daniel Pipes.
In the planning stage now is a joint trip by Muslim and Jewish students to the Middle East.
The majority of UCI's 27,000 students are of Asian descent, and according to recent estimates there are about 1,000 Jewish students, slightly outnumbered by Muslim and Arab students.
Gomez said he believed that the enrollment of both Jewish and Muslim students was going up and that "Jewish life on campus has never been stronger."
Chapman, ACLU Reach Fraternity Agreement
Students belonging to a historically Jewish fraternity will be allowed to meet and promote their activities on the Chapman University campus next semester thanks to an agreement between school administrators and the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Orange County office.
Sigma Alpha Mu had been banned from campus, and members say they were prohibited from wearing T-shirts bearing their Greek letters after administrators refused to recognize the fledgling group during fraternity expansion in February 2006. The 12-member fraternity and other unrecognized groups will be allowed to rent tables and distribute materials in designated "free speech" areas and to purchase student newspaper ads.
The settlement was prompted by an Oct. 2 letter to Chapman President James L. Doti in which ACLU Orange County Director Hector Villagra claimed that the university's actions violated the students' rights of free speech and association. At the time, Villagra had not ruled out litigation.
"This might help erase the negative stigma that comes with our name," said Sigma Alpha Mu President Pascal de Maria, alluding to a spring 2006 Chapman directive to its 11 fraternities and sororities to report any on-campus activities by the group.
Despite the 2006 ruling, the fraternity receives support from its national organization and has continued to meet off campus, calling itself the Orange County chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu.
Unrecognized groups organizing on campus must prominently disclaim any affiliation with the university in all written or online documents, according to the agreement.
-- Lisa Armony, Contributing Writer
Israeli Consulate, Welcome to MySpace
The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles may be a few years late to the revolution, but it's making connections with a new profile on MySpace.com, the social networking Web site.
Since the profile for "My Israel," age 59, was created in July, little more than two dozen have added the consulate as a friend, although that list does include Madonna (possibly even the Madonna, based on her friend count of nearly 300,000). The consulate officially launched last week, sending out a blast e-mail to drum up interest.
"NOW YOU CAN FIND US (ALSO) ON MYSPACE," stated the note, directing recipients to myspace.com/myisraelconsulate_la.
"The [Foreign] Ministry a while ago understood this is a playing field we need to play in. YouTube, MySpace, Facebook -- you're talking about millions of people," said Gilad Millo, spokesperson for the L.A. consulate. "This is new media versus old media. And being one of the country's that develops most of the software for new media, Israel needs to play in that."
Joining the New York consulate -- http://myspace.com/state_of_Israel -- Los Angeles' profile includes a blog and is being promoted on the consulate's home page, www.israeliconsulatela.org.
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer
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