The Battle Against Anti - Semitism and Anti - Israel on California Campuses - Part Two

From: "Koester, Jolene"
Date: December 8, 2011 10:31:35 AM PST
To: Tammi Benjamin
Subject: Re: responding to your letter about anti-Semitic webpages on the CSUN server

Too bad.

Sent from my iPad

Dear President Koester,
I am shocked and distressed by your recent reply to me in response to a letter I co-authored, urging you to address an egregious case of anti-Jewish bigotry on your campus. Our letter asked you to condemn and remove Professor David Klein's anti-Semitic and highly offensive webpages from the CSUN server. In your response, you callously wrote: "Too bad."

As you know, our letter was sent to you under the aegis of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization representing more than 5,000 members and supporters of the California Jewish community, who are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on California campuses. In that regard, your response is not only dismissive and disrespectful of me, but of a large segment of the Jewish community as well.

Moreover, your lack of sensitivity to our serious concerns about anti-Semitism and the welfare of Jewish students on your campus is appalling.

I and many members of the Jewish community consider it highly inappropriate for the leader of a major public university to behave in this way.

It is indeed "too bad."


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
Lecturer University of California, Santa Cruz

CC: Chancellor Charles Reed
Board of Trustees
California Governor Jerry Brown
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
Congressman Brad Sherman
California State Senator Alex Padilla
California State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes
Los Angeles Mayor - Antonio Villaraigosa
Los Angeles City Council President

BCC: For wide circulation

On Dec 7, 2011, at 5:29 PM, "Tammi Benjamin" > wrote:

Dear President Koester,

We thank you for your letter responding to our email and those of numerous members of the Jewish community regarding what we consider to be abuses of CSUN's -- and therefore the California taxpayers' -- resources, through the hosting of Professor David Klein's anti-Semitic webpages (including this one) on the CSUN server.

However, we are appalled by your response and believe that it indicates an egregious failure of leadership. You have chosen to abdicate and misapply the authority vested in you as President of CSUN:

* You have willfully ignored the CSUN policy that prohibits the name of the University to be associated with boycotts and other politically-motivated activity;
* You have willfully ignored the CSUN policy which states: "Use of computers, networks and computing facilities for activities other than academic purposes or University business is not permitted";
* You have willfully ignored the CSUN policy that gives the University the right to remove "any defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal materials" from its website.
* You have mistakenly interpreted academic freedom and freedom of speech to mean that a university-sponsored, publicly-funded website can be used to promote defamatory lies and purvey a vile anti-Semitic screed.
* You have willfully ignored the fact that Professor Klein's webpages have almost certainly contributed to a hostile environment for Jewish students on your campus, in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

As you state in your response, you do so because the University “upholds academic freedom, eschews censorship, and defends rights to express points of view.” Yet, we are not referring here to the right of an academic to disseminate his controversial ideas in his area of expertness. Nor are we referring to the right of an academic, as a private citizen, to express his provocative ideas on his own blog. Professor Klein is a professor of mathematics. By no stretch of the imagination can his academic freedom rights in mathematics be used as a cover for anti-Semitic propaganda against the Jewish state and its supporters.

If, as you say, CSUN has no choice but to tolerate Professor Klein’s speech on its website, we question why you and the CSU administration have not exercised your own freedom of speech. You have remained silent and chosen not to acknowledge or condemn blatant anti-Jewish bigotry, although you yourself have stated that your responsibility is “to speak out and even condemn ideas and views that are racist.”

We demand that you exercise your responsibility and declare to the University community that Professor Klein’s views are deeply offensive and violate the University’s policy of tolerance and inclusiveness.

We demand that you exercise the full authority vested in you as University President by removing Professor Klein's anti-Semitic webpages from the CSUN server.

We look forward to hearing what further actions you will take.

In the meantime, we will continue our own efforts to investigate and expose the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry at CSUN, and we will use every means available to us to address it.

Please understand that the Jewish community will not remain silent while anti-Semitism goes unchecked on your campus.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
[email protected]

Leila Beckwith
Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
[email protected]

CC: CSU Chancellor Charles Reed
CSUN Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Harold Hellenbrand
CSUN Department of Mathematics Chair Werner Horn


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