Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This Just In: Chancellor Drake's Latest Email to the UCI Community

The UCI Chancellor's latest message is below but here's a quick summary: Chancellor Michael V. Drake, MD condemns "hate speech".

Little problem: what exactly is "hate speech"? I'm kind of lost and Drake doesn't give any specific examples.

So "hate speech" could be the anti-Semitic attacks that UC Irvine Jewish students, faculty, and staff have had to put up year after year...or perhaps not, as sentences like "Zionists, your days are numbered" and claiming (falsely) that there is a Holocaust in the Holy Land always fall inside "the bounds of civility." /sarcasm off

On the other hand, the MSU and SAS consider any Israeli Independence Day celebrations "hate speech". The MSU considers Bus 19 "hate speech" because in their dangerously extremist view bringing it to campus "ignited hate" - read their February 21, 2005 condemnation of the event in the New University paper: http://www.newu.uci.edu/article.php?id=3402

Obviously the MSU is full of bunk, but Drake's definition jives perfectly with the MSU's continuous, crazy, and obnoxiously loud speeches, news articles, and public displays that there's this massive Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, that Jews are the new Nazis and they're committing genocide against the Palestinians, and the use of suicide bombers that target for murder innocent men, women, and children because they are Jewish is a perfectly moral and legal way of waging war.

Chancellor, every time I step on campus, I walk around with a bullseye on my back because you and your administration aren't doing your jobs - you're supposed to protect my Title VI civil right to be able to go to school here without fear of intimidation against my religious, ethnic, and racial group. You're going to have to do better. I want specifics of recent events on this campus that fit the bill of "hate speech".

You've stepped closer to what you need to say, but your message still doesn't cut it. For once, show all of us you've got balls.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Hate Speech
Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 19:58:11 -0700
From: Michael V. Drake, Chancellor
To: All Students: ;;All Students:@es.nacs.uci.edu;

Dear Students:

This is the third in a trilogy of messages sent to the campus community this month reiterating our core values of respect, appreciation and empathy, our refusal to tolerate illegal behavior, and our Constitutional obligation to respect and uphold First Amendment rights.

Today, I would like to address behavior that adheres to the strict definition of the law, but falls distinctly outside the bounds of civility. In a society of laws, we all must abide by a written code that draws the line between legal and illegal activities. The law sets a minimum standard of behavior. But there is a zone between illegal behavior and desirable behavior. In this zone we find disrespectful, deliberately offensive, but not specifically illegal acts. In the case of hate speech this behavior is protected by the Constitution.

Hate speech is difficult to define precisely. It is largely defined by the individual hearing it: what some or many may find hateful or offensive, others may not. Hate speech tends to be directed at individuals or groups. The provocateur chooses words specifically to offend and inflame. We can all think of examples of this behavior: words that are used to provoke outrage.

This winter and spring there have been incidents testing the bounds of the First Amendment at many campuses across the country, including ours. The controversies have revolved around a variety of issues, often not related to campus life per se, but rather reflecting larger international frictions.

Make no mistake: I find hate speech abhorrent, illogical and ultimately pitiful. Hate speech is inconsistent with advancing understanding or dialogue. It is also inconsistent with the great tradition of free speech at the University of California. I ask you to join me in renouncing hate speech as a form of expression, and to join with our larger university community in fostering open and candid dialogue.

I invite you to visit the web page of Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez (http://www.vcsa.uci.edu), which includes important information related to the practice of free speech and events that UCI is sponsoring to encourage constructive dialogue on difficult issues currently being addressed on campuses across the country.

And, as always, I invite you to review our values, which can be found at http://www.chancellor.uci.edu/values.shtml. By upholding these values, we can ensure a healthy exchange of ideas in a civil, non-threatening environment.

Fiat Lux
Michael V. Drake, M.D.


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