BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SCR 35              
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          |Author:    |Stone                                                |
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          |Version:   |March 26, 2015                          Hearing      |
          |           |Date:     April 29, 2015                             |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |No              |
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          |Consultant:|Kathleen Chavira                                     |
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          Subject:  Anti-Semitism

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill urges each University of California (UC) campus to  
          adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and  
          racism, including Islamophobia, and declares the Legislature's  
          condemnation of anti-Semitism augmenting education programs at  
          all publicly funded schools in the State of California. 

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing law prohibits the UC Regents, CSU Trustees, and CCD  
          governing boards from making or enforcing a rule subjecting a  
          student to disciplinary sanction solely on the basis of conduct  
          that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in  
          outside a campus of those institutions, is protected from  
          governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United  
          States Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California  
          Constitution.  Existing law authorizes a student to commence a  
          civil action against an institution that has made or enforced  
          such a rule. (EC  66301) 

          Existing law clarifies that the aforementioned law does not  
          prohibit the imposition of discipline for harassment, threats,  
          or intimidation, unless constitutionally protected; nor does it  
          prohibit an institution from adopting rules and regulations  
          designed to prevent hate violence from being directed at  
          students in a manner that denies full participation in the  
          educational process, if the rules and regulations conform to  







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          constitutional rights. 
          (EC  66301)

          Existing law prohibits an employee from being dismissed,  
          suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise  
          retaliated against solely for acting to protect a student  
          engaged in conduct protected by the constitution or the  
          aforementioned laws, or for refusing to infringe upon conduct  
          that is protected by the constitution or the aforementioned  
          laws.  (EC  66301)

          Existing law requests the UC Regents, the CSU Trustees, and  
          local community college governing boards, to adopt and publish  
          policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying. (EC  66302)
            
          ANALYSIS
          
          This bill urges each University of California campus to adopt a  
          resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and racism,  
          including Islamophobia, and resolves the Legislature's  
          condemnation of any act of anti-Semitism augmenting education  
          programs at all publicly funded schools in the State of  
          California.  Further, this resolution finds:

          1.   That the United States Department of State has defined  
               anti-Semitism as specified.

          2.   That there is clear evidence of increasing and alarming  
               incidents and expression of anti-Semitism throughout the  
               world and that one can witness the proliferation of  
               anti-Semitic activity.

          3.   That the Jewish Caucus of the Legislature held a related  
               press conference in February 2015 and an estimated 500  
               people gathered at the Capitol to protest anti-Semitic acts  
               across the nation.

          4.   That swastikas and other anti-Semitic sentiments have  
               increased on college campuses across the country and around  
               the world.

          5.   That record anti-Semitic acts around the world in 2014  
               included murders, attacks, death threats, arson, graffiti,  
               and other acts.








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          6.   That these acts extended to soccer stadiums, the internet,  
               editorial cartoons, Nazi salutes, and lead Jewish  
               individuals to conceal their religious and ethnic identity.

          7.   That the governments of France, Germany, Italy and the  
               United Kingdom, where the majority of European anti-Semitic  
               acts have occurred, have condemned anti-Semitism and  
               declared attacks on their Jewish communities intolerable.

          8.   That the State of California actively promotes tolerance of  
               all faiths and religions and the United States government  
               has played an active role in counteracting the resurgence  
               of anti-Semitism worldwide.

          9.   That the Legislature joins in the unequivocal condemnation  
               of all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects all forms of  
               anti-Semitism and attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or  
               violent attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval  
               or frustration over political events in the Middle East or  
               elsewhere. 

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1.   Need for the bill. According to the author, this resolution  
               is prompted by the display of a Nazi swastika on top of an  
               American flag at a Sacramento home and the spraying of  
               swastikas on a Jewish fraternity building near the  
               University of California Davis campus.  According to the  
               author, this resolution seeks to condemn the rise of  
               anti-Semitism that he opines has been seen across the state  
               and around the world.  

          2.   Clarifying definitions.  This resolution references a  
               definition of anti-Semitism issued by the United States  
               Department of State.  Staff notes that this definition has  
               come under criticism as expanding beyond a definition of  
               anti-Semitism as hatred, violence, intimidation or  
               discrimination targeting Jews because of their ethnic and  
               religious identity to encompassing political speech and  
               activities critical of policies related to the state of  
               Israel. 

          Should the resolution be amended to refer to the Merriam Webster  








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          definition of anti-Semitism (hostility toward or discrimination  
          against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group) in order  
          to ensure that there is no misinterpretation of the  
          Legislature's intent regarding this resolution?

          3.   Islamophobia.  This bill calls for the adoption of a  
               resolution condemning anti-Semitism and racism, including  
               Islamophobia.  According to the Council on American-Islamic  
               Relations' (CAIR) website, Islamophobia is closed-minded  
               prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An  
               Islamophobe is an individual who holds a closed-minded view  
               of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of  
               Muslims.

          4.   Religious tolerance versus content of educational programs?  
               This bill resolves the Legislature's condemnation of any  
               act of "anti-Semitism augmenting education programs" at all  
               public funded schools in the State of California.  While  
               the Legislature may choose to clearly articulate its  
               condemnation of anti-Semitic acts and tolerance and  
               acceptance of all religious beliefs, it is unclear what  
               specifically would be seen as an "anti-Semitic augmentation  
               of an education program."   Could this language be  
               interpreted as the Legislature's support of the restriction  
               of free speech activities on a college campus?

          Staff recommends the bill be amended to delete "augmenting  
          education programs" on page 3, line 9. Staff further recommends  
          the bill be amended to insert, "Nothing in this resolution is  
          intended to diminish the rights of students or anyone else to  
          freely discuss or engage in any legal speech or other activity  
          protected by the Constitution of the United States."

          5.   Related UC activity. The UC reports several responses and  
               related policies:

                  A.        In March 2015, the UC President and UC Board  
                    of Regents Chairman issued a statement speaking out  
                    against bigotry and hate in light of recent instances  
                    of anti-Semitism on UC campuses. The statement   
                    explained that anti-Semitic incidents, as well as  
                    bigotry directed against any member of the UC  
                    community because of their faith, ethnicity, gender or  
                    sexual orientation, will not be tolerated and deserve  








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                    condemnation.

                  B.        Each of the UC campuses has their own policy  
                    regarding the freedom of expression. In addition to  
                    these individual policies, the Board of Regents has  
                    also established a policy on employee and student  
                    protections related to student press and student free  
                    speech rights. These policies are based on the belief  
                    that free expression, robust discourse, and the  
                    vigorous debate over ideas and principles are  
                    essential to the mission of the University. 

                  C.        In 2010, UC established a systemwide Campus  
                    Climate Incidents Reporting System, a 24-hour hotline  
                    for reporting incidents of bias, hate, intolerance,  
                    and intimidation. The new hotline was integrated with  
                    existing hotlines at the nine undergraduate campuses,  
                    and is staffed by an outside vendor to ensure  
                    confidentiality.

                  D.        In 2011, based on deliberations with campus  
                    administrations, students, and the UC President's  
                    Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and  
                    Inclusion, the University amended its policies on  
                    student conduct which enhanced the capacity of campus  
                    administrators to respond to acts of discrimination,  
                    particularly where the victim was targeted because of  
                    their identity.

                  E.        In 2011, several members of the UC President's  
                    Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and  
                    Inclusion visited some UC campuses and met with  
                    members of the Jewish community to engage in  
                    fact-finding and identify ways to make campuses more  
                    inclusive and welcoming for Jewish students.  
                    Similarly, Council members also met with members of  
                    the Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab communities, to gain  
                    insight into the educational and co-curricular  
                    experiences of Muslim and Arab students and identify  
                    ways to make campuses more inclusive and welcoming for  
                    them. Several recommendations that came out of these  
                    meetings have been implemented, including collecting  
                    data in a more inclusive way, addressing dietary and  
                    living accommodation needs of Muslim and Jewish  








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                    students, and providing student meditation or  
                    reflection space on campuses.

                  F.        Beginning fall of 2012, the University of  
                    California surveyed its faculty and other academic  
                    appointees, students, staff, trainees, and  
                    post-doctoral scholars about their experiences and  
                    perceptions of campus or workplace climate. In  
                    response to the findings of the UC Campus Climate  
                    Study, each UC campus has convened a group of  
                    representatives to develop and execute action plans to  
                    address key issues raised in the survey.

          1.   Related and prior legislation. 

               HR 35 (Halderman, 2012) called upon officials of California  
               public postsecondary educational institutions to increase  
               their efforts to condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their  
               campuses. This House Resolution was adopted by the Assembly  
               via a vote in the Assembly Higher Education Committee in  
               August 2012 of 8-1.

            SUPPORT
          
          None received. 

            OPPOSITION
           
           Asian Law Caucus
          Center for Constitutional Rights
          Jewish Voice for Peace
          National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles

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