Our Federation was thrilled to host UCLA Chancellor Gene Block this past Tuesday night, May 26th, for an insightful discussion on the current campus climate for the University’s Jewish students. With the recent flood of headlines causing concern for UCLA’s Jewish student population, this intimate conversation gave everyone in the room an inside perspective directly from the school’s administration and students. The Chancellor offered his support and proposed a number of ways the larger community can work together with students and his administration to ensure a welcoming and vibrant Jewish campus community for generations to come.
Dr. Block was joined by leaders from the Jewish community of UCLA: Rabbi Aaron Lerner, incoming Executive Director of UCLA Hillel, and student leaders Arielle Mokhtarzadeh and Avinoam Baral, also spoke on the panel. Arielle is a very involved first-year student who serves on the UCLA Hillel Student Board, and Avinoam is outgoing Student Body President. The event was moderated by Richard Sandler, who is the former Chairman of the Board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and was recently named Chairman of the Board of The Jewish Federations of North America.
Addressing an audience of over 60 Federation and UCLA Hillel leaders, Dr. Block expressed his shared concern for some of the events that have taken place at UCLA over the last several years, but assured the leadership in the room that he is committed to the safety and security of all students, Jewish or otherwise. By the end of the discussion, the student leaders found themselves in agreement with the Chancellor and Rabbi Lerner that, despite a few sensational headlines, UCLA is safe for Jewish students and everyone is working together to ensure that it stays that way.
It continues to be our Federation’s mission to promote the well-being of Jewish students on the numerous campuses we serve through our Campus Impact Network. Tuesday evening’s program was a great display of the University’s willingness to partner with our community and hear our communal voice on critical issues. Our Federation was honored to play the role of convening such a topical and significant meeting. It was the first of many conversations in an ongoing dialogue to improve conditions for Jewish students at UCLA and on campuses across Los Angeles.
To learn more about the Federation’s Campus Impact Network, please contact Robert Oliver at (323) 761-8604 or ROliver@JewishLA.org.