Santa Barbara Hillel is working closely with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) administration to support the Jewish, pro-Israel, and broader campus community to address threatening public online postings. Recent social media posts by Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UCSB have included photos of guns with captions calling for armed violence against Israelis. Facebook removed the offending post for violating their community standards on graphic violence and hate speech.
The safety and security of UCSB students is Hillel’s top priority. We continue to work with campus law enforcement and student affairs to monitor this matter. We encourage any students or Hillel community members with concerns to contact us.
We are pleased to share the following official statement from UCSB, and we thank UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn for their care, concern, and attentiveness on this matter. The UCSB statement follows, and can also be found by clicking here: Message to Campus Community 3/21/18
“Last week, a campus organization registered at UCSB posted some photos on Facebook that they labeled as supporting armed resistance against alleged Israeli imperialism. The photos depicting guns have since been removed from Facebook.
The images were upsetting to those who felt that they encouraged violence against supporters of Israel. In the context of the elevated concern about gun violence in the United States since the Parkland, Florida shooting, the timing contributed to the sense that the photos were threatening. We heard from UCSB community members who felt threatened by the photos and message, and we understand and support their concern.
The First Amendment protects the rights of students to express their political views even when others find them offensive. Although the campus organization’s use of the photos and captioning are constitutionally protected, we appreciate that Facebook took the photos down for “violating their community standards.” We encourage all members of the UCSB community to be sensitive and respectful to the perspectives of others and to remember that we have an educational goal and commitment to one another within this community of higher education that we all share. At UC Santa Barbara, our Principles of Community include striving “individually and collectively to make UC Santa Barbara an inclusive environment in which to live, work, and learn.” We promote the rights of all students, regardless of political or religious beliefs or national identity, to study and live in a welcoming campus community.
Complicated and controversial issues about which people feel strongly are difficult to discuss through images and slogans. We urge all members of our community to come together to engage in respectful dialogue, especially where they disagree.”