Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Seeking to address anti-Semitism, UC tries again to write ‘principles against intolerance’

University of California’s student regent, Avi Oved, left, holds up a Star of David as he discusses a controversial policy statement on intolerance on Sept. 17, 2015.
University of California’s student regent, Avi Oved, left, holds up a Star of David as he discusses a controversial policy statement on intolerance on Sept. 17, 2015. The Associated Press

Shaken by several anti-Semitic events on campuses this year, the University of California began work over the summer on a statement of “principles against intolerance.” Some Jewish groups asked that a broad U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which includes comments “demonizing Israel,” be adopted as part of the policy; that set off further controversy as supporters of Palestinians and faculty objected to what they regarded as infringement of their free speech.

By the time a draft statement was released last month, it had been so watered down that virtually no one was satisfied with it. The Board of Regents rejected the document, calling a working group to craft a new policy that more directly addresses the anti-Semitic incidents.

The working group will hold its first forum today to gather public input on the policy, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UCLA. Among the participants are regents Norm Pattiz, who called the draft statement “frankly insulting” to the Jewish community at last month’s meeting, and former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who shot down the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, as well as Linda Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis, where swastikas were spray-painted onto a Jewish fraternity in January.

BIG BREAK: Gov. Jerry Brown is in Oakland for the groundbreaking of UC San Francisco’s new Benioff Children’s Hospital at 9:45 a.m. His relationship with UCSF extends back at least a few years: Brown was treated there for prostate cancer in 2012, and in April, he announced a two-year, $3-million initiative to advance data-driven “precision medicine” that will be hosted by the university.

THIS IS THE END: As fires rage and the water dries, the California Natural Resources Agency is trying to plan how the state can prepare for and adapt to the worst effects of climate change. It’s now taking public comment on its draft “Safeguarding California” report, starting with a 10 a.m. workshop at the California Energy Commission on 9th Street.

NO LAUGHING MATTER: State Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma and former Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway walk into a conference center in Bakersfield. They’re among the speakers for today’s “women’s empowerment” seminar hosted by California Women Lead, a nonprofit that trains women for elected and appointed office. If you think of a good punchline, let us know.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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