SGA passes anti-Semitism bill

anti-semitism

Student government removed content that pertained to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the first version of the anti-Semitism bill. The revision focuses more on denouncing all types of discrimination, as well as anti-Semitism. Photo illustration by Bonnie Cash

Student government passed a resolution in place of the formerly vetoed anti-Semitism bill on April 6, after nearly five months of review.
When the original bill was approved in May 2017, its phrasing caused some conflict between the Jewish and Palestinian student populations, which led President Mitchell Rosenberg to veto the bill later that month.

The resolution initially used the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which recognizes that anti-Semitism is related to Israel, though the bill didn’t take a stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“The draft was just very politically flawed (because) there were a lot of political references that kind of made it (seem) as if a student wanted to criticize the state of Israel, you might be labeled as an anti-Semitic, and that’s not true,” Rosenberg said.

Since the veto, student government has worked with students from different diversity, cultural, spiritual and religious organizations on campus to ensure a resolution that will denounce all types of discrimination and remove language related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The once six-page document is now two.

Rosenberg presented the redrafted resolution during the April 6 student government meeting, where the senate approved it.

“I’m really impressed with Mitchell Rosenberg for making the changes,” said Safi Nazzal, a junior film productions major and the former president of the Students for Justice in Palestine club.

anti-semitism

President Mitchell Rosenberg said student input was taken into careful consideration in drafting the new resolution. Panther Archives

Nazzal, one of the students who criticized the first bill last May, thinks the new resolution is a step in the right direction.

“The new draft addresses anti-Semitism as it should be addressed — which is hate related to individuals and people of identities, rather than hate or critique of a state,” he said.

Blake Fonberg, a freshman business administration major and member of Chabad at Chapman and Hillel, agrees. He believes it was the right move for student government to revise the bill so that it’s more accommodating to everyone.

Based on the feedback student government received from both sides of the political spectrum, the revisions made over the past few months localized anti-Semitism to the Chapman campus, rather than taking a stance on an international conflict.

“We made (the bill) more Chapman-centric and made it clear that we’re condemning anti-Semitism on the Chapman campus, and supporting our Jewish students here,” Rosenberg said.

The resolution cites Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy to emphasize that students cannot victimize other students based on race, color, religion, gender identity, national orientation and more. It also references the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects Jewish students from discrimination under Title VI.

Student government invited all of Chapman’s diversity, cultural, religious and spiritual organizations, such as Students Supporting Israel, J Street U, Students for Justice in Palestine, Hillel, and others to provide input on the matter.

“In that round table, we went through every page in the bill,” Rosenberg said. “There were (between 10 to 12) of us in there going through every word and every sentence, and that’s when we decided what to take out, what to keep in, what to reword, what to rewrite.”

When Rosenberg vetoed the bill in May 2017, he said that student government hadn’t upheld its job responsibilities or gotten enough student support in passing the bill.

“The reason it was better this time was because we actually did our jobs,” Rosenberg said. “We talked to students (and got their) input and feedback, and had their support before the senate voted on them.”