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Petition to California State University (CSU) Chancellor White and CSU Trustees:

How Will CSU Ensure Faculty Do Not Use Classrooms for Political Indoctrination?

Dear Chancellor White and the CSU Trustees,

In light of the recent passage of AB 1460 and the establishment of an Ethnic Studies requirement on all CSU campuses, we call on you to issue a public statement explaining how you will ensure that faculty are prohibited from using their ethnic studies courses, or any CSU courses, for the purposes of promoting a partisan political agenda and encouraging political activism - including anti-Zionist advocacy and activism - that violate students’ academic freedom, foster divisiveness, and incite hostility and harm against targeted CSU students, notably Jewish and pro-Israel students.

The anti-Zionist orientation of the highly politicized discipline of Critical Ethnic Studies – the version of ethnic studies referenced in AB 1460 and made explicit in the Ethnic Studies Requirement Student Learning Outcomes developed by the CSU Academic Senate  -- coupled with the willingness of many ethnic studies faculty to bring anti-Zionist advocacy and activism into their professional spaces, make us gravely concerned that these required classes could create a toxic climate for Jewish and pro-Israel students, and that they will become targets for harassment inside and outside of the classroom. (See more here on the link between Critical Ethnic Studies, Anti-Zionism and the harassment of Jewish students).

Cognizant of the many significant harms that a politicized classroom causes an academic institution and its students and the extent to which it would erode public confidence in the University of California, the UC Regents established the Policy on Course Content (Policy 2301), which states: “[The Regents] are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest.  Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination… constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.” In 2014, the UC Office of the President affirmed that Policy 2301 applies to both graduate student teaching assistants  and faculty who use their classrooms to promote the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In contrast, CSU has no such policy.

In the absence of similar safeguards to prevent CSU faculty from using their classrooms for politically motivated and directed advocacy and activism, including the promotion of anti-Zionism and BDS, we believe implementation of the AB 1460-mandated Ethnic Studies requirement will be a disaster for our students and our state, and lead to a serious erosion of public trust in California State University.

We look forward to hearing how CSU plans to address this serious issue.

Thank you for your leadership in these challenging times,

[The Undersigned]

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