The U.C. Board of Regents confirmed UCLA junior Avi Oved as its student regent for the 2015-16 school year during a meeting July 16 in San Francisco.
Oved’s nomination caused a stir of controversy for a position that generally receives little scrutiny. The U.C. Student Association and other student groups raised objections after discovering that Oved, who is Jewish, accepted campaign contributions from the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation when he ran for UCLA student government. Adam Milstein is an Israel supporter.
In response, two Regents noted that such a contribution “clearly would not constitute a violation” of a UCLA election code that places no restrictions or reporting requirements on campaign funding sources, the L.A. Jewish Journal reported.
The confirmation vote was nearly unanimous, with the only vote against Oved’s appointment cast by U.C. Berkeley student Sadia Saifuddin, the current student regent and the first Muslim to hold that position.
Oved will sit as a nonvoting member until he is granted voting power at this time next year.
Leading up to the meeting, the UCSAâ€ˆhad asked the 26-member U.C. board to delay the confirmation process pending an investigation into conflict-of-interest allegations.
At the public comment session during the July 16 meeting, about a dozen people voiced their concerns about Oved, with support for him coming only from Sam Levine, executive director of the West region of the Zionist Organization of America, Amanda Botfeld, ZOA intern and U.C. Santa Cruz student, and one other student, Levine said. Johanna Wilder, a regional campus coordinator for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, also attended the meeting.
The Daily Californian student newspaper quoted U.C. Berkeley sophomore Marium Navid as saying “Avi Oved cannot represent all 230,000 students in the U.C. system without a conflict of interest.”
During the meeting Oved said, “As the student regent–designate, my only allegiance is to the students. We’re at a critical juncture in the U.C.”
Speaking about the efforts to derail Oved’s confirmation, Levine called it a “witch hunt” being led by Students for Justice in Palestine. “This harassment and intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students must stop,” he said. SJP “is solely focused on destroying the Jewish state and intimidating and harassing Jewish students on campus.” — j. staff & wire reports