Jewish student UCLA

Jewish Student Rachel Beyda: UCLA Council Member Questions Her Religion

UCLA is under fire after Jewish student Rachel Beyda was questioned about her religion during a council board meeting to discuss her credentials.

The meeting took place on February 10, and at first, Jewish student Rachel Beyda was denied a position on the Undergraduate Students Association Council, with four members voting against her nomination. However, at the request of a faculty adviser — who pointed out that belonging to Jewish organizations doesn’t preclude someone from becoming a member of the council — Beyda was later voted in unanimously.

Fortunately for her, the despicable actions of the council members were recorded in written minutes and captured on video. In the disturbing clip, Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, questioned Beyda’s ability to be unbiased while looking down at her from the other end of the table.

“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”

Later on, the Jewish student left the room so the board members could discuss whether to accept her nomination or not. Initially, the four students opposed her inclusion, but they were forced to retract.

Beyda is an active UCLA community member, including Hillel, a popular Jewish organization on campus. According to the report that unearthed the video on the New York Times, the council members were blatantly shown to be prejudiced and biased against the student who happened to be Jewish.

In the age of political correctness, Jews continue to be discriminated against, according to advocate groups, more than other minorities, such as African-Americans and gays. Others are pointing out to the fact that if Beyda was from another minority religion, those questions would never have been asked of her.

After the scrutiny, the video of the council meeting was removed from YouTube. UCLA is in damage control mode, and some Jewish organizations are calling on donors to review their contributions to the school.

Rabbi Aaron Lerner, the newly appointed executive director of the Hillel chapter at UCLA, commented on the vote against the Jewish student.

“We don’t like to wave the flag of anti-Semitism, but this is different. This is bigotry. This is discriminating against someone because of their identity.”

According to a recent study conducted by Trinity College researcher Barry A. Kosmin, there are multiple examples of anti-Semitism directed towards college students, but he has not seen anything as startling as what happened at the UCLA council meeting.

“It’s egregious and startling. If they had used this with any other group — sexual, racial, any kind of identity group — they would have realized it was illegal.”

The four UCLA students who opposed the Jewish student’s nomination wrote a letter to the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin.

“Our intentions were never to attack, insult or delegitimize the identity of an individual or people. It is our responsibility as elected officials to maintain a position of fairness, exercise justness, and represent the Bruin community to the best of our abilities, and we are truly sorry for any words used during this meeting that suggested otherwise.”

Similarly, Fabbienne Roth, the woman who directly questioned Beyda’s religious views, stated in an email she has apologized to the Jewish student.

“I have already apologized profusely for what happened during our council meeting and I deeply regret how I phrased my questions to Rachel.”

Meanwhile, UCLA’s chancellor, Gene D. Block, issued a statement condemning the attacks on Beyda, however, for now at least, no disciplinary action will be taken against the council members.

“(This is) a teaching moment. These are students that are learning about governance. I think they all learned about what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. The campus has come together on this.”

Beyda has refused to comment on the council member’s actions. However, her roommate, Rachel Frenklak — who was with her at the meeting — wrote a scathing letter in the Daily Bruin.

Do you think the council members should be suspended over the questions they asked the Jewish student?

[Image via Twitter]

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