On Thursday, several posters were sighted at UC Berkeley from the David Horowitz Freedom Center alleging that some members of the campus community were terrorist supporters.
The posters, which were found near Barrows Hall, listed 13 members of the campus community by name, several of whom have been vocal in the past about their support for Palestinian divestment from Israel. The David Horowitz Freedom Center also announced Thursday that UC Berkeley ranked first in its report of the “Top Ten Worst Schools that Support Terrorists,” according to a press release from the center.
David Horowitz is scheduled to appear at UC Berkeley on Sept. 26 as part of “Free Speech Week,” a four-day-long event being co-hosted on campus by conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos and campus publication the Berkeley Patriot.
“I’m shaken,” said UC Berkeley scholar-in-residence Smadar Lavie, one of the 13 people whose names were listed on the posters. “It’s my holiday — I’m on my holiday. It’s Rosh Hashanah.”
Lavie is affiliated with the campus’s Beatrice Bain Research Group, specializing in issues of race, gender and religion in Egypt, Israel and Palestine. She is also a campus alumna who received her doctorate in anthropology from UC Berkeley in 1989. Lavie said the posters on campus reminded her of reactions she received in response to her views when she was a graduate student.
“I had déjà vu today,” Lavie said.
According to campus spokesperson Michael Dirda, the posters were removed from Barrows Hall by facilities services workers before 2 p.m. Thursday. Facilities services employees and UCPD have also been asked to be on the lookout for other copies of these posters around campus and will remove them if they are found, Dirda said in an email.
Chancellor Carol Christ condemned hateful messaging at UC Berkeley in a campuswide email sent Thursday afternoon, calling it “cowardly.” In the email, Christ said UCPD is investigating whether such messaging can be classified as a hate crime.
“Berkeley is better than what these incidents reflect,” Christ said in her email.
Campus alumnus David McCleary and campus graduate student Kumars Salehi, both of whom were featured on the posters, said they were dissatisfied with the campus’s response to the posters, citing similar past instances of hate posters on campus.
Salehi said he believed the presence of the posters on campus was a tactic to generate attention for “Free Speech Week.” He also noted that several people named on the posters are no longer active on campus.
“I see it as another wave of outside conservative attempts at dictating what sorts of politics are acceptable,” Salehi said. “The administration has more than enough reason to consider David Horowitz an unwelcome figure to the campus.”