UCLA’s undergraduate judicial board – the student government’s equivalent of the Supreme Court – ruled Wednesday in a 4-0 vote that student government officers may take sponsored trips to Israel without it constituting a conflict of interest. Two of the judges abstained.
The ruling marks only the latest conflict between the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and pro-Israel students on the campus. SJP filed a complaint in April against students Sunny Singh and Lauren Rogers, charging that they created a potential conflict of interest when they went on free trips to Israel, with the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, respectively.
The pro-Palestinian group asked the court to review the legitimacy of the votes cast by Singh and Rogers last February towards a SJP-sponsored resolution that called on UCLA’s administration to divest from companies that do business in the West Bank. That resolution failed 7-5. Although the ballot was secret, the going assumption is that both Singh and Rogers voted against the resolution.
On the evening of May 15, the Judicial Board heard about 4.5 hours of arguments, with both Singh and Rogers undergoing cross-examination by SJP’s student counsel, Dana Saifan, who questioned Singh about the contents of a liability clause ADL asked him to sign before his trip, asking why he didn’t submit into evidence his entire ADL trip application.