UC Board of Regents confirms Avi Oved as student regent-designate

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Lorenz Angelo Gonzales/Staff

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SAN FRANCISCO — The UC Board of Regents confirmed UCLA junior Avi Oved as the 2015-16 student regent at its meeting Wednesday, with only one opposing vote from current student regent Sadia Saifuddin, just after about a dozen public commenters voiced their concerns about his potential political conflicts of interest.

Oved’s confirmation has been hotly contested in the last several weeks, after a document presented June 28 at a University of California Student Association’s meeting alleged that Oved received funding for his 2013 student government campaign from Adam Milstein, a pro-Israel supporter who also co-founded the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation.

“As the student regent-designate, my only allegiance is to the students,” Oved said at the meeting. “We’re at a critical juncture in the UC. While our campuses grow in prestige, we still have a lot of work to do.”

The UCSA’s systemwide affairs committee passed a motion in a closed session July 4 to recommend that the regents postpone Oved’s confirmation until September. Several public commenters were concerned that the board chose to ignore the recommendation.

“Avi Oved cannot represent all 230,000 students in the UC system without a conflict of interest,” said incoming UC Berkeley student government senator and sophomore Marium Navid during the public comment session.

Navid also presented to the board a petition with more than 800 signatures from various UC students requesting the regents postpone Oved’s confirmation.

In a written statement and during multiple interviews, Oved said receiving funding during his student government campaign did not violate the UCLA election code and that he was targeted because of his pro-Israel views.
The regents, in a July 9 letter responding to UCSA’s concerns, said that “even if all the allegations raised against Mr. Oved are true, they clearly would not constitute a violation of the UCLA election code.”

Sam Levine, executive director of the western region of the Zionist Organization of America, said Oved had done nothing wrong and that students were declaring him guilty by association.

“It’s nonsense. It’s a witch hunt,” Levine said. “The only reason is because he’s Jewish and pro-Israel. There’s a strong anti-Semitic attitude on many college campuses, and it’s discriminatory.”

UCSA will be continuing its investigation into conflict of interest concerns and funding transparency while Oved begins working with Saifuddin as student regent-designate.

“I know that the learning curve is steep, but I’m sure it’s one I can climb,” Oved said at the meeting.


Contact Anna Li at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @annajxli.

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  • Peter

    Anti-Semitism and Jewish hatred lives on in the UC system. That’s why I pay non-resident tuition for my daughter to attend a peaceful school elsewhere.

    • Wabbit

      I’m Jewish and I go to UC Berkeley. No antisemitism here – sorry to disappoint you.

      • Peter

        Too bad you’re living with blinders on. Berkeley and Irvine are the most rabid anti-Israel campuses in the nation. I feel sorry for you.

      • I_h8_disqus

        Do you even walk through Sproul with any indication that you are Jewish? I don’t see antisemitism in the Greek system, but over the last couple of years, I have seen certain student groups harassing Jewish students on Sproul, and I have listened to a speech by Farrakhan.

  • Peter

    Isn’t it amazing how so many students have been brainwashed by the Palestinian Narrative?! Clearly driven by anti-Semitism. Why don’t these same bleeding hearts show any concern for the 175,000 killed in Syria by Muslims? The unending pathetic double standard lives on.

    • Wabbit

      They’re concerned about Syria and they’re concerned about Palestine. On the other hand, you are definitely not concerned about Palestine, and you’re not concerned about Syria either. You’re just using Syria as a way to divert the conversation from Palestine.

      So please don’t talk about brainwashing.

      • Peter

        You’re kidding yourself. The narrative is about killing all Jews worldwide. That’s precisely why the focus is entirely on Israel, where Israeli Arab citizens have more freedoms and better lives than anywhere else in the Middle East. Do you think Hamas cares AT ALL about the Palestinians? The ONLY possible response to anything Hamas is doing is retaliation from Israel. That’s their plan. Open your eyes. Casualties in Gaza are the DIRECT result of actions by Hamas and result in sympathetic press from around the globe. Israel has to do what’s necessary to protect its citizenry. What would you want of your government with non-stop bombs being lobbed into your neighborhood?

        • Dan Spitzer

          Note my post concerning UN UNRWA condemnation concerning Palestinians stockpiling munitions in a UN run school and the recent firing of missiles toward Israel from an area bordering on the school. It is highly unlikely that you will ever hear the likes of Wabbit and his pro-Palestinian minion criticizing the barbarians who use kids as human shields…

      • Dan Spitzer

        Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya–Muslims daily butchering thousands of Muslims. The horrific civil war a few years ago in Algeria where Muslims eviscerating hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists. The continuum of monstrous regimes in Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates; the military dictatorship in Egypt. And not to be ignored, the pro-genocidal government of “reconciliation” constructed by those honorable Palestinians Wabbit and Ms. Saifuddin so revere.
        No, Wabbit and the pro-Palestinian minion neither discuss nor demonstrate about the barbaric behavior going on daily in the Islamic world, all done in the name of Allah. No, Wabbit, Sadia and their fellow ideologues are obsessed with the Middle East’s sole democratic state, Israel, surrounded by a sea of Muslims butchering Muslims.
        Nor will you hear a word from Wabbit and the pro-Palestinian minion of the horrific treatment of Palestinian women and honor murder by the Palestinian patriarchy, the savaging of homosexuals, or the brutal suppression of dissidents by that fine society Wabbit, Sadia, and the likes of SJP champion. Only Jews juice their misplaced capacity for criticism. Can anyone guess why?

      • I_h8_disqus

        You are showing your bias. Considering what is happening in Syria, there should be much more protesting by students than we have seen. In fact, there should be a lot more protests not aimed Israel based on the level of violence we are seeing around the globe. We are either seeing hatred of Jews or a group of students who are not intelligent enough to notice what else is going on in the world.

    • Sarah Dunst

      CLEARLY anti-semitism. CLEARLY. God forbid we should criticize the holiest of holiest Israel. Because any critical thinking involving the occupation is forbidden. So let us now turn to Syria and blatantly ignore the murder of Palestinian civilians.

  • Rachel Howe

    It’s honestly ridiculous that this was even an issue in his confirmation. So he’s pro-Israel–what, do you think that because he supports the establishment and protection of the nation of Israel (an issue of international law and politics), he’s going to somehow discriminate against some students in a single university system in a single state of a single nation? How exactly does doing that help his pro-Israel views? Answer: It doesn’t, so his pro-Israel views should have no bearing on his capacity to hold this office.

    This protest of his confirmation just shows how absurdly blind young people have become, listening only to their media sources of choice until they can’t even think for themselves. They hear about these human rights issues in Gaza (which, don’t get me wrong, are concerning) while conveniently ignoring the violence from Gaza against Israel and the background of this conflict, and so they jump at every opportunity to oppose Israel but don’t even think about what doing so actually looks like. (Hint: It doesn’t involve objecting to a student’s capacity to represent UC students because he supports the nation of Israel.) I still don’t understand how people jeer at Fox News and then go read The Huffington Post like it’s the unbiased truth and take themselves seriously. (Of course, it cuts both ways.) It’s our duty as the rising generation to engage in politics and governance responsibly; it’s about time we step up to that challenge.

    Note: The first paragraph of this comment is based solely on the reporting of the article. I don’t know if there were other concerns about the student’s confirmation, but if there were, I sure hope they were better than this one.

    • Sarah

      I suggest you read some of the other articles covering this issue and statements issues by those parties asking for a delay in the confirmation, especially before you decide to comment. Unfortunately this article specifically did not do a spectacular job encompassing the heart of the concerns, but I can tell you Aved’s pro-Israel stance had nothing to do with it.

      • Guest

        I’m very glad to hear that, if it is indeed true. I’ve read the other articles, and they seem to indicate that another problem is that he received outside funding from a pro-Israel group. If that’s the case, I still don’t see how there’s an issue, as (a) technically, there’s no violation of election rules, and (b) realistically, it won’t change the way the student holds his office. He received funding from a pro-Israel group that supports the protection of the state of Israel. Whether it’s an outside organization or not, again, do people really think that that will influence the way he represents students in a single university system? If the organization that gave him funding took a stance on something related to, say, gun laws or drug use or some other domestic issue, I could understand, but this accusation as it stands is still poorly conceived.

        Moreover, even if the organization’s causes are more than remotely related to the UCs, it seems absurd to suggest that the donation will somehow shift the student’s stance on the issues facing the UCs. He’s Jewish, is involved in various Jewish organizations, and expresses support for the Jewish community. Is a donation from a pro-Israel group somehow going to change his views in some corrupt way?

        In short, I don’t see a clear policy violation or reason to suspect corruption, so I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

      • Rachel Howe

        I’m very glad to hear that, if it is indeed true. I’ve read the other articles, and they seem to indicate that another problem is that the funding is from an outside group. If that’s the case, I still don’t see how there’s an issue, as (a) technically, there’s no violation of election rules, and (b) realistically, it won’t change the way the student holds his office. He received funding from a pro-Israel group that supports the protection of the state of Israel. Whether it’s an outside organization or not, again, the question stands: Do people really think that receiving funding from an organization that supports an issue of international politics and law will influence the way he represents students in a single university system in a single state? If the organization that gave him funding took a stance on something related to, say, gun laws or drug use or some other domestic issue, I could understand, but this accusation as it stands is still poorly conceived to me.

        Moreover, even if the organization’s causes are more than remotely related to the UCs, it seems absurd to suggest that the donation will somehow shift the student’s stance on the issues facing the UCs. He’s already Jewish, is already involved in various Jewish organizations, and already expresses support for the Jewish community (but not exclusively the Jewish community). Is a donation from a pro-Israel group somehow going to change his views in some corrupt way?

        In short, I don’t see a clear policy violation or reason to suspect corruption, so I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

  • Sarah Dunst

    So we pay thousands in tuition for them to force a “representative” onto us while disregarding our petitions, our requests and our decisions? Why don’t they just flat out admit that they are not behaving in the best interests of the students– rather those of their paychecks.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Well, Sarah, since the UC has far more Jewish than Muslim students, ditto more Jewish faculty, alums and donors, you might concur that Ms. Saifuddin is hardly representative of this considerably larger representative of UC students, faculty, alums and donors. And one might venture to conclude by her stance on BDS and her vote today, they would hardly feel that she is representative of them, nor fitting to be the student regent…

      • Sarah

        Hate to break it to you, Dan, but far more than just the Muslim population supports BDS. And that’s because it doesn’t take a certain religion to understand that what Israel is doing to Palestine is inhumane and wrong. But anyways, that’s besides the point — as is your comment. The issue is not and never has been about the student regent’s stance on BDS. It’s about integrity, fairness and accountability, about proving that your allegiance is to the students first and foremost rather than an external racist individual you receive funding from.

        • Dan Spitzer

          Sarah, let’s examine your terms humane and wrong as pertaining to the Palestinians. Is the Covenant of the party democratically elected by the Palestinians, Hamas, humane or honorable when it calls for genocide vs Jews everywhere? How about the Palestinian treatment of women and that culture’s widespread acceptance of honor murder by fathers or brothers against teenage daughters?

          And let’s not forget the brutalization of homosexuals by Arab societies in general and the Palestinians in particular. Is that humane or honorable? Moreover, let’s consider the overt suppression of dissidents by both the PLO and Hamas.

          Finally, do you think it is humane and honorable for Hamas to reject the internationally brokered cease fire accepted yesterday by Israel? Please do answer me on this one as Hamas has clearly decided that it’s OK to continue to fire missiles at Israeli civilians and when the Israelis understandably defend themselves as would any nation, it’s perfectly OK to sacrifice probably hundreds more Palestinian people who Hamas is using as human shields. In sum, please do let us know if you believe the Hamas/Islamic concept of martyrdom is humane, or not in every way wrong…

          • Dan Spitzer

            Addendum: Sarah, here’s an example of humane acts by the Palestinian people you champion. This report comes from the UN organization overseeing what it calls Palestinian “refugees” and originates from a school the UN runs for Palestinian kids.

            “The UNRWA found 20 rockets in one of its Gaza schools.” Indeed, a Globe and Mail reporter said he was nearby when two missiles were launched toward Israel from right next to the school. The reporter related that when the rockets were launched, the kids in the school heartily cheered their firing.

          • Sarah Dunst

            Dan, let’s examine your terms humane and wrong as it pertains to the Israeli occupation. Are the economic incentives offered by the Israeli government to the settlers for violating international law humane and honorable? How about the settler-only roads, their theft of Palestinian property (farms, demolished homes, olive groves) or the Security Wall that conveniently runs along the available natural aquifers?

            And let’s not forget Israel’s pinkwashing– loudly beating drums about it’s treatment of homosexuals to conceal or downplay the brutalization and systematic denial of Palestinian human rights. Moreover, let’s consider the overt suppression of dissidents by both AIPAC and other extensions of Israel’s PR campaign. Israeli soldiers ran over American citizen Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer and attacked multiple aid envoys to Gaza. Is that humane or honorable?

            Finally, do you think it is humane or honorable for Israel to repeatedly violate the terms of its agreements and ceasefires (2014, 2012 ceasefires, water treaties, etc.)? Please do answer me on this on as Israel has clearly decided that civilians (hospitals, cultural centers, homes)

          • Sarah Dunst

            are legitimate targets (469 Palestinian men, women and children murdered as of today). Oh and by the way, Israel has been using experimental weapons on them while “alerting” people to evacuate their homes by dropping small bombs on their houses– so humane. If Israel gets to defend itself, then so do the Palestinians. As for your last line– your Islamophobia says it all.

      • Sarah Dunst

        Dan, can you give me statistics regarding the “far more Jewish than Muslim students”? And by the way, Jews and Muslims aren’t the only constituencies in the UCs. There are human rights activists from all racial, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds at the UC who support BDS as a peaceful means of protesting Israel’s war crimes and want someone who reflects that. This includes Jewish students. Moreover, divestment is not the only issue Ms. Saifuddin ran on; I’m not sure why you emphasize that one more than her activism in other social justice issues.

  • Sarah

    About a dozen people spoke in public comments about their reasons of concern with Oved, student regent Sadia Saifuddin explained clearly why this is not a question of religion or politics, and yet this article chooses to give voice predominantly to the anti-Semitic bullying excuse. There were more than enough quotes to choose from that explained why that was not the case, yet for some reason they didn’t make it into this article

    • I_h8_disqus

      Why do you give us some? Why are you opposed to him other than because you hate Jews?

  • Andre Donner

    If the student regent appointee had been radically pro-Palestinian,
    anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic (yes, there’s a difference), and taken
    money from a third party, the USCA wouldn’t say a peep. That’s the
    world we’re all living in now. Just ask the Jewish students at UC
    Irvine.

    • Sarah

      If that happened, the regents would cancel the appointment before the ucsa could even take a vote. That’s what would happen.

      • I_h8_disqus

        You are so biased. You ignore Sadia as if she didn’t fit Andre’s description.

  • 1234567890

    Semetic

    relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes
    Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as
    Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the
    Afro-Asiatic family.

    ^^this word is something they throw around without knowing what it is. Jews are anti-semetic if they are racist to some middle easterners. Its doesn’t just mean oppress the jews

    • Dan Spitzer

      Common use is how words are defined in speech and writing. For example, we don’t consider Egyptians or Algerians who come to the US to be African-Americans, even though the respective countries of their origin are located on the continent of Africa. Moreover, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone of Palestinian heritage who calls himself a Semite. On the other hand, Jews worldwide identify themselves and are identified by millions as Semitic…

      • Sarah Dunst

        Um, lots of Palestinans call themselves Semites… in fact, all of the ones I know personally do consider themselves to be Semites as Arabs are a Semitic people…

  • Wabbit

    Surprise, surprise. Yet again, the regents are ignoring students’ voices and side with big capital, racism, and bigotry. It is telling that the only person who voted against this nomination was the student regent. Disgusting.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Are you saying, Wabbit, that Sadia is disgusting? (Just to clarify, I’m not, although I find her stance on BDS to be so.) But apparently Ms. Saifuddin can’t understand just how much her nomination alienates Jewish students given her support for BDS. And as a colollary since UC has far more Jewish than Muslim students, Sadia should resign as her standing as student regent fails to represent so many UC students…

      • Wabbit

        Spitzer, had you read the article you would have learned that Saifuddin voted AGAINST the nomination. You’re embarrassing yourself. Again.

        • Dan Spitzer

          Wabbit, did you read what I wrote? Given the level of your manifest comprehension, one might say with a grin, “Run, Wabbit, run.”

          • Wabbit

            Spitzer, I read it twice, and my reading comprehension is 100% okay. The problem is that you make no sense.

          • I_h8_disqus

            How do you not get that Dan was poking fun at you?

          • Wabbit

            He has this incredibly delicate sense of humor, so It’s just hard for us, mortals, to fully fathom his brilliance. But seriously, his comment reflects his racism: he argues that a Muslim cannot represent Jews and that a Jew cannot represent Muslims. The criticism of Oved is NOT that he is Jewish: it’s that he took money from a person who has many times before made racist Islamophobic remarks. Spitzer’s criticism of Saifuddin is different: he says that (1) she’s, OMG, Muslim, (2) she, OMG, supports BDS, which is also supported by many Jewish students and non-students. She didn’t take money from any bigoted racist the way Oved did.

            Unlike Spitzer’s argumentation, opposition to Oved was not racist. It’s unfortunate that Oved chose to hide behind false claims for antisemitism. Such manipulations make it much harder to fight true instances of antisemitism and racism in general.

          • Dan Spitzer

            Hmm, I support some of the Palestinians elected to the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) who also represent Jews in their constituency. I also supported the election of President Obama, despite the fact that he wrote in his autobiography that the most influential US mainland based individual on his life prior to taking the presidency was Rev. Wright, who we now know is anti-Semitic.
            As for Ms. Saifuddin, despite coming from Pakistani heritage, a society which treats women horrifically (as do the Palestinians), has done little to alter a situation where a young girl was shot in the head simply because she wanted to go to school (Malala), where homosexuals are brutalized (as they are by the Palestinians), and where dissenters are often jailed or murdered (as they are by the Palestinians), has never asked for BDS to be applied to the homeland of her heritage, despite the fact that it gets billions from the US.
            Indeed, as can be seen in the news daily, Muslims are butchering one another at sickening rates. Nonetheless, who has Ms. Saifuddin and her pro-Palestinian minion singled out for BDS? Democratic Israel, where none of those groups treated so horribly by Muslims experience the overt discrimination manifest in so many Islamic societies. Anyone want to guess why Israel has been singled out?
            And, wabbit, can you be so sure that Sadia didn’t take any money from the overtly anti-semitic legions of CAIR, SJP and the MSA? I’m afraid what many in those organizations express, wittle wabbit, is clearly hatred for Jews…

          • Dan Spitzer

            Well, it’s a well known fact in the zoological community that wabbits are a little slow, except of course when they are running away (from the truth). ;-)

    • ThisIsPalestine

      LOL so if they didn’t vote the way you wanted them to, that means they are “ignoring” you? Get off your pedestal, kid.

      • Wabbit

        Sweetie, they’re not ignoring me. They’re ignoring the entire student body, represented by UCSA, which voted 10-0 for postponing the nomination until investigation is complete. Your arrogance doesn’t make your arguments more convincing.

        • ThisIsPalestine

          The arrogance is yours, son.

          “Navid also presented to the board a petition with more than 800 signatures from various UC students requesting the regents postpone Oved’s confirmation.”

          Obviously they’re not ignoring the entire student body. Deal with it.

    • I_h8_disqus

      Surprise, Surprise. Yet again, the UC government and student government are ignoring what students really want. Students don’t want to deal with this constant clashing between small pro-Pal and pro-Israel niche groups. The UC has so many more important matters on their plates. I can’t believe that they picked either Sadia or Avi. Both distract from what the students really need. And before I hear any more whining or protesting about Israel, I want to see students protest about other attacks. Why do we not see protests about Obama’s recent drone attacks that killed innocents? Why do we not see protests against France for its attacks on Mali?