UCSA committee votes to request delay of student regent-designate nominee confirmation

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In a closed session to follow up on allegations against student regent-designate nominee Avi Oved, the University of California Student Association’s systemwide affairs committee voted 10-0, with two abstentions, in favor of requesting that the UC Board of Regents delay Oved’s confirmation until September.

The UCSA committee also voted 8-0, with four abstentions, to find a method to have an impartial entity investigate the allegations, which include financial and political conflict-of-interest concerns about Oved, and report to the board by the end of the month.

At a UCSA board meeting Saturday, last year’s president of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Riverside presented an email that contained allegations of inappropriate campaign donations. The email, allegedly sent from Oved to Adam Milstein, thanks him for a generous donation to Oved and a UCLA student government political party, Bruins United. Milstein is involved in several pro-Israel organizations and is the co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

In an interview with The Daily Californian, Oved confirmed he sent the email, although he said he was thanking Milstein for supporting Hillel at UCLA.

“At the time, I had an internship at Hillel, which was a leadership internship, and it gave me a solid foundation to establish myself as a leader in my community,” Oved said about why he sent the email to Milstein. “Milstein was a big contributor to Hillel, and Hillel was supporting Bruins United, and given the fact that I had this leadership internship, I did want to let him know the future of what I was pursuing.”

In an email leaked to The Daily Californian, Milstein requested that pro-Israel community members direct contributions to Hillel at UCLA earmarked for “UCLA Student Government Leaders.” According to the email, Oved and UCLA student government internal vice president Avinoam Baral requested that Milstein reach out to the pro-Israel community for capital to support their cause. Milstein allegedly stated he would contribute $1,000.

Milstein said in a statement Tuesday, prior to the publication of the new information, that neither he nor his foundation had ever given funds to Bruins United or the campaigns of individual students. In a statement released the same day, Oved called the allegations “hurtful and deeply unfair” and said he had complied with all requirements of UCLA’s election bylaws.

“It’s really important to know that even if I wanted to disclose that information, there was no mechanism for me to do so,” Oved said.

Baral, who was copied on the alleged email, declined to comment.

The UCSA’s board, which is made up of graduate and undergraduate student members from UC campuses, recommended three candidates from a pool of 38 to the regents, who nominated Oved in May. If the UC Board of Regents confirms Oved in two weeks, at its July meeting, he will be the sole voting voice of the UC student body on the Board of Regents in the 2015-16 school year.

On Tuesday, the UCSA board held an emergency meeting to hear students’ opinions on how to proceed and held a closed session Thursday to make a final decision.

Public comment at Tuesday’s emergency meeting suggested that the issue at stake was if Oved’s stance against divestment — the withdrawal of UC funds from companies affiliated with Israel’s military — posed a conflict of interest.

But many board members do not believe the issue raised by the controversy has anything to do with Oved’s divestment beliefs. Rather, they said it was a question of transparency at the student government level and of whether Oved would be able to put the interests of UC students above the priorities of an outside organization.

Board member and UC Santa Cruz graduate student Rebecca Ora emphasized the importance of maintaining Oved’s innocence until proven guilty, something that some students said during public comment had not been consistently respected.

Although Kareem Aref, UCSA board president, said the outcry against Oved and the concerns raised about student regent-designate Sadia Saifuddin last year were “two sides of the same coin,” others warned about distilling the controversy into a conversation solely about divestment.

Saifuddin’s support of divestment — she co-sponsored a bill last year pushing for it at UC Berkeley — was a divisive issue that led to public outcry, although she was ultimately confirmed by the UC Board of Regents. But Galvan Sanchez said this is an entirely different issue.

“It’s not really about his stance, whereas that’s what it was for Sadia,” Galvan Sanchez said. “It’s about conflict of interest and all that comes from receiving donations like that.”

Ora said it wasn’t the board’s role to “condemn (Oved) for his opinions.” And Denea Joseph, a board member and a UCLA student government official, expressed concern that the matter — as circulated in the public sphere — has been dismissed as a clear-cut right to hold personal opinions in public office.

“I feel like a lot of people have written off this accusation as something that’s just a matter of personal bias in campus politics,” Joseph said. “It’s not that. It’s just a matter of wanting to make sure that students are represented in the best way possible.”

For an issue that many say comes down to transparency, Students for Justice in Palestine board member and UCLA student Omar Issa Attar said there’s been a lack of clarity in the investigation process as a whole. He said Tuesday’s conference-call format — although laudable for its efforts — made it difficult to authenticate the identity of those speaking.

Caitlin Quinn, a board member and campus external affairs vice president, said comments had been submitted claiming to be members of organizations — such as SJP — but that names provided didn’t match those of university students, let alone members of the supposed organizations.

“It’s a little weird to me that people are going out of their way to make fake public comments about it,” Quinn said. “I think they’re trying to make it more divisive than it actually is.”

While UCLA’s election code does not stipulate that candidates disclose the sources of their funding, Quinn said the situation would have been very different if Oved were a UC Berkeley student.

UC Berkeley student government election bylaws require that parties provide documentation of the sources of their funding, which is indicative of a significant distinction between the cultures of UCLA and UC Berkeley, according to Quinn.

Many board members said the UCSA board doesn’t have significant power over whether or not Oved is ultimately confirmed at the regents’ meeting in July or if the appointment is put off until September. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely helpless over the outcome.

“While the confirmation is in the hands of the regents now,” said board member and campus student government attorney general Kevin Sabo in an email, “they would be grossly abusive of their responsibilities as administrators of this university to refuse the statewide student association its request to reconsider the most visible student position in the system.”

Contact Katy Abbott at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @katyeabbott.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the UCSA board of directors held the closed session on Thursday. In fact, it was UCSA’s systemwide affairs committee, a subset of the board of directors, that held the session.

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  • MiRo Soran

    Why are the comments here almost exclusively just cheap “hasbarah” crap by Israeli lobbyists? It seems that the subject matter and the facts addressed by the article are ignored by them, because they all know that Oved and his “party” are corrupt servants of not only non-academic interests, but foreign ones. I n other words Avi is a lobbying agent of a foreign power aka Israel.

    Of course I’d condemn as strong as Avi also any pro-Palestinian candidate, should he/her get funding in exchange for political servility.

    • Dan Spitzer

      This is the old canard: Jews serving “International Jewry.” Goebbels perfected this nonsense and we still see this Third Reich garbage in comments on this site…

    • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

      “Politicians” on both sides of the student government aisle love to get involved with international causes that their AS’s have no power over. How can he be a “foreign servant” if literally none of his duties have anything to do with it? People of any nationally should be allowed to embrace it, and associate with others how they wish (especially since the donations did not break the rules, and according to the elections advisors are common place).

  • Andre Donner

    Why is this SO predictable. I’m actually surprised it took this long to find a red herring to try and disqualify a Jewish UC student who holds pro-Israel views. Is a pro-divestment position a pre-requisite for appointment to a systemwide position?

  • Larry A Singleton

    How about that; I actually mis-spoke. AND I jumped to conclusions without even reading the article. I think this whole thing should be investigated. From A to Z. Something stinks. there’s something about this story that somehow doesn’t pass the smell test. My previous comment began with “If this guy wasn’t and Jew this wouldn’t even be an issue. And then I discovered; I didn’t even know if this guy WAS a Jew. Thing is scratch this kind of stuff and you’ll find Jew Hatred that has infested this country and our schools.

    Why we allow these seditious genocidal scum, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Islamic version of the Hitler Youth the Muslim Student Association to operate in the United States of America is beyond me. This is all part of the broader BDS movement and attempt to deligitimize and destroy Israel and encourage the murder and kidnapping of Jews. Period! See my “Jew Hatred” post below.

    If you’ve read books like Indoctriation U. by Horowitz and The War Against Boys by Sommers, you’re fully aware of how these Liberal Fascists think. These two books should be sold as a gift set by the way. Along with Martin Kramer’s Ivory Towers On Sand.

    It makes me sick to my stomach to see the kind of antisemitism seen in 1930’s Nazi Germany passing for “academics” on our college campuses and universities where Jew Hatred is almost fashionable. “Sedition” and “Treason” just seem to have no meaning today.

    This whole thing revolves around the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. This is what I’ve learned about the right of return. This is what you never hear about:

    Right of Return III (No Links) I’d put the links but this Disqus is a dysfunctional piece of crap where even when I “filter” this comment through WordPad, I STILL have to edit the damn thing.

    Fact Sheets: The Palestinian “Right of Return” (Jewish Virtual Library)

    The “Right of Return” Is Suicide for Israel by Jonathan Schanzer (MEF)

    The History of the Middle East Conflict in 11 Minutes (You Tube)

    “Letter to the Editor” International Herald Tribune, July 1, 2003 by Giulia Boukhobza (Also in Bostom’s “Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism” book: Chapter 68, page 677: “A Libyan Jew Breaks Her Silence 36 yrs after surviving the 67 Tripolitan Pogrom”) (Faith Freedom)

    Historical Facts and Figures: the Forgotten Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

    Jews Displaced from Arab Countries: A Story of Collusion (pdf)

    (See p-4 “Exhibit E”!)

    A japanese View of the Palestinians by Yashiko Sagamori

    The Forgotten Refugees: An exchange of populations by David G. Littman

    Original 1948 NYT article: “Jews in Danger in all Moslem Lands” by Mallory Browne (pdf)

    Expulsion of the Jews from Muslim Countries 1920-1970 by Prof. Shmuel Trigano (IsraelSeen)

    Subscribe to Jihad/Campus Watch and the Middle East Forum/Quarterly, Middle

    East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Gatestone Institue, FrontPage

    Magazine, The Clarion Project, Cross Muslims: Muhammad unveiled and

    read Raymond Ibrahim, Efraim Karsh, Patrick Poole, Caroline Glick,

    Bat Ye’or and others.

    “She’sBuried Chest High”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXdy5Fwwfzg

  • Larry A Singleton

    JEW HATRED (No Links)

    From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters (gospelpedlar)

    Who conspired? – by Bat Ye’Or (Dreuz-Info)

    The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism by Andrew G. Bostom (Read the “Note on the Cover Art-Execution of a Moroccan Jewess” or this book Review/article by Benjamin District; “Jewess Heroine-Sol Hachuel” (myrightword)

    Supplemental Article “The First and Last Enemy: Jew Hatred in Islam.” by Bostom

    EU, U.S., Funding Incentives to Kill Jews by Guy Millière (Gatestone Institute)

    “Anti-Israeli hatred permeates the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank” “The PA, on its totally government-controlled TV, on a daily basis glorifies suicide bombers and portrays them as role models for others to “follow in their path.” Children living in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and funded by the Europeon Union and the U.S., are encouraged to kill Jews and destroy Israel.”

    “The Christian Aid Conference on Peace and Justice in the Holy Land” by Denis MacEoin (Gatestone Institute) (See “Wafa al-Biss”)

    I would STRONGLY urge you to first read the Appendix at the end of the article: “From a letter to an anti-Israel activist, to be published in 2013″

    Response to the Anti-Israel Event at London’s St. James Church (Gatestone Institute)

    Palestinians enraged that Romney told truth about their lack of interest in peace, call him “ignorant” and “prejudiced”. Great examples of how “safe” Israel would be next to a Palestinian state. (Jihad Watch)

    The Big Lie and the Media War Against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to Inversion of Reality by Joel S. Fishman (Daniel Pipes)

    Israel Delilah missile-Missile specifically designed to avoid civilian casualties (You Tube)

    Israeli Surgeon Treats Palestinians Despite Despair Over Kidnapped Youths 6-25-14 (Algemeiner)

    Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project September 26, 2002 Special Report No.10 Fiday Sermons in Saudi Mosques: Review and Analysis (MEMRI)

    (This is from Saudi Arabia. Same with an article on Islam Sheikh bin Humaid that I read and am submitting below.)

    Islam’s Hatred of the Non-Muslim by David Bukay (Frontpage Magazine archive)

    Guest Column: Palestinian TV Teaches Kids The Way to ‘Jihad Street’ by Abigail R. Esman (Investigative Project)

    Hamas to kids: Shoot all the Jews (Jihad Watch)

    Farfour “martyred” by Israelis in final episode (You Tube video)

    MEMRI Transcript: Farfour, Hamas’ Mickey Mouse Character, Is ‘Martyred’ in the Final Episode of the “Pioneers of Tomorrow” Children’s Show on Hamas Al-Aqsa TV

    Ever heard of Wafa al-Biss? The woman who returns to a hospital to blow up the doctors and nurses who had saved her life and as many other people as possible. When released in a prisoner swap she encouraged a bunch of children to become suicide bombers. (Check out the contrast between the article and NBC news story below.)

    The Depravity of the Homicide Bomber’s Recruiters (Frontpage Magazine)

    Female Homicide Bomber (“suicide”You Tube)

    Failed Suicide Bomber Hopes for Another Chance to Kill (You Tube)

    Children as combatants: Motivating children to seek Shahada (Palestinian Watch)

    Camp Jihad UN/US Palestine Probaganda and brainwashing (You Tube)

    Michael Coren & David Harris – Palestinian terrorist training camps for kids (You Tube)

  • Larry A Singleton

    “Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Daily Californian.”
    Uh-oh! “Hold” your horses. Now I have to see if I’m going to be censored or blocked ala their fellow Jew hating buddies over at LoonWatch. I guess we’ll see.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Larry, whoever is editing the commentary section continually shows an anti-Israel bias. While you and I write truisms which are censored, even though they are accurate and to which readers, if they disagree, may have been free to differ, the pro-Palestinian minion has written missives on this site which the editors have permitted to remain as comments, including those equating Zionism with racism, outrageous epithets loathsome to most Jews such as “Seig Zionism,” and excreta written by someone whose screen moniker is “Zionism=Nazism.” In sum, the Daily Cal editors haven’t seen fit to expunge such unsavory comments while they remove ours–an apt reflection of the Daily Cal’s manifestly pro-Palestinian bias as well as its editors’ contempt for those who support Israel…

      • Larry A Singleton

        And…it looks like two or three posts I submitted are no longer here. I may be wrong but I thought I made a couple of other comments. “Right of Return III” file. I’ve been completely blocked over at AlterNet for posting these same things here. It’s unbelievable the vile Jew Hatred that is infesting and allowed to be spewed in the comment features. These people are routinely encouraging the murder of Jews. And thanks to our traitor in Chief continuing to fund the terrorists the terrorists attacks have only escalated.

        Here’s an interesting report from my “Jew Hatred” file:

        TheBig Lie and the Media War Against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to Inversion of Reality by Joel S. Fishman (Daniel Pipes)
        http://www.danielpipes.org/rr/4465.php
        It’s just sick.
        (Course I had to edit this comment because of the dysfunctional piece of crap Disqus.)

        • Larry A Singleton

          Right of Return III (No Links)

          Fact Sheets: The Palestinian “Right of Return” (Jewish Virtual Library)

          The “Right of Return” Is Suicide for Israel by Jonathan Schanzer (MEF)

          The History of the Middle East Conflict in 11 Minutes (You Tube)

          “Letter to the Editor” International Herald Tribune, July 1, 2003 by Giulia Boukhobza (Also in Bostom’s “Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism” book: Chapter 68, page 677: “A Libyan Jew Breaks Her Silence 36 yrs after surviving the 67 Tripolitan Pogrom”) (Faith Freedom)

          Historical Facts and Figures: the Forgotten Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

          Jews Displaced from Arab Countries: A Story of Collusion (pdf)

          (See p-4 “Exhibit E”!)

          A japanese View of the Palestinians by Yashiko Sagamori

          The Forgotten Refugees: An exchange of populations by David G. Littman

          Original 1948 NYT article: “Jews in Danger in all Moslem Lands” by Mallory Browne (pdf)

          Expulsion of the Jews from Muslim Countries 1920-1970 by Prof. Shmuel Trigano (IsraelSeen)

      • Larry A Singleton

        Dan, get and read Christina Hoff Sommers “The War Against Boys”. And even though it might seem unrelated get “Taken Into Custody” by Stephen Baskerville. Go to Amazon and read the Preface and Introduction to these two books and tell me what you think. These two books are almost life-changing.

  • Larry A Singleton

    This is Jew Hatred plain and simple. If this guy wasn’t a Jew this wouldn’t even be an issue. Why we allow these seditious genocidal scum, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Islamic version of the Hitler Youth the Muslim Student Association to operate in the United States of America is beyond me. This is all part of the broader BDS movement and attempt to deligitimize and destroy Israel and encourage the murder and kidnapping of Jews. Period!

    If you’ve read books like Indoctriation U. by Horowitz and The War Against Boys by Sommers, you’re fully aware of how these Liberal Fascists think. These two books should be sold as a gift set by the way. Along with Martin Kramer’s Ivory Towers On Sand.

    It makes me sick to my stomach to see the kind of antisemitism seen in 1930’s Nazi Germany passing for “academics” on our college campuses and universities where Jew Hatred is almost fashionable. “Sedition” and “Treason” just seem to have no meaning today.

    This whole thing revolves around the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. This is what I’ve learned about the right of return. This is what you never hear about:

    Right of Return III (No Links) I’d put the links but this Disqus is a dysfunctional piece of crap where even when I “filter” this comment through WordPad, I STILL have to edit the damn thing.

    Fact Sheets: The Palestinian “Right of Return” (Jewish Virtual Library)

    The “Right of Return” Is Suicide for Israel by Jonathan Schanzer (MEF)

    The History of the Middle East Conflict in 11 Minutes (You Tube)

    “Letter to the Editor” International Herald Tribune, July 1, 2003 by Giulia Boukhobza (Also in Bostom’s “Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism” book: Chapter 68, page 677: “A Libyan Jew Breaks Her Silence 36 yrs after surviving the 67 Tripolitan Pogrom”) (Faith Freedom)

    Historical Facts and Figures: the Forgotten Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

    Jews Displaced from Arab Countries: A Story of Collusion (pdf)

    (See p-4 “Exhibit E”!)

    A japanese View of the Palestinians by Yashiko Sagamori

    The Forgotten Refugees: An exchange of populations by David G. Littman

    Original 1948 NYT article: “Jews in Danger in all Moslem Lands” by Mallory Browne (pdf)

    Expulsion of the Jews from Muslim Countries 1920-1970 by Prof. Shmuel Trigano (IsraelSeen)

    Subscribe to Jihad/Campus Watch and the Middle East Forum/Quarterly, Middle
    East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Gatestone Institue, FrontPage
    Magazine, The Clarion Project, Cross Muslims: Muhammad unveiled and
    read Raymond Ibrahim, Efraim Karsh, Patrick Poole, Caroline Glick,
    Bat Ye’or and others.

    “She’sBuried Chest High”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXdy5Fwwfzg

  • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

    “Public comment at Tuesday’s emergency meeting suggested that the issue at stake was whether Oved’s stance against divestment” Because his stance wasn’t known for years and the current Student Regent doesn’t have the same exact conflict of interest?

    “Rather, they said it was a question of transparency at the student government level and of whether Oved would be able to put the interests of UC students above the priorities of an outside organization.” We already knew about his pro-Israel stance and the donation doesn’t change that, does it? He did not break any campaign rules either.

    “there’s a lack of information about the origins of the alleged email, it’s difficult for her to see any concrete reason to continue with an investigation.” I’m actually interested in this too. How did SJP get their hands on the emails. Are they even real?

    “board member and campus student government attorney general Kevin Sabo in an email” Isn’t it a little suspicious that the current AG (who mind you is supposed be neutral, and had to mediate Israel related issues in the last election) also has a highly partisan position on UCSA? I’m sure he did nothing wrong, but that looks like just as glaring of a conflict of interest.

    Like I said before though, this accusation is not some kind of anti-semitism plot either. Looks like a plain and simple dirty student government politics scandal that happens every 6 months — though we’re a little bit ahead of schedule considering Naweedgate was only 3 months ago.