UC Regents decide to redraft tolerance policy

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- University of California Regents decided Thursday to go back to the drawing board when it comes to creating a policy spelling out tolerance on their campuses.

UC Regents have formed a new committee that's composed of students and faculty to take another a crack at drafting a policy that would impact all of the campuses in the UC system.

UC Berkeley is considered the home of the free speech movement. Now, more than half a century after student protesters lifted a ban on campus political activities, the UC Regents, concerned that free speech has become hate speech, considered a formal policy.

The draft they debated Thursday condemned intolerance, including violence, harassment, hate speech and derogatory language. Students on the Cal campus told ABC7 News they don't feel there's a problem here.

"Walking through Sproul Plaza, people are expressing themselves," said one student.

"I'm a Sikh and I feel very welcome here in campus," another student said.

The regents heard complaints Friday that their proposed principles don't adequately address anti-Semitism. For example, a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis was defaced with swastikas earlier this year.

Hatem Bazian is a professor of near eastern and ethnic studies at UC Berkeley. He says he gets anti-Muslim reactions. For example, hate mail after posting about the Muslim boy arrested in Texas this week after his clock was mistaken for a bomb. He says the university should not be a place where any topic is off limits.

"What defines tolerance and intolerance on a college campus? What defines acceptable and unacceptable speech on a college campus? How can we make sure that tolerance is not conflated with unpopular positions?" Bazian said.

The regents say they will try again to draw up a policy, which could take months.
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