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SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan commissions Task Force on Inter-group Relations on campus



Ligeia Polidora
SFSU Office of Public Affairs

(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs

Group will focus on concerns of Jewish and Palestinian communities; first listening session inviting public to suggest recommendations to take place on Monday

SAN FRANCISCO, June 14, 2002 -- San Francisco State University President Robert A. Corrigan has commissioned a 38-member task force to examine inter-group relations and advise the University on immediate and long-term strategies for improving the campus climate, particularly regarding the concerns of the Jewish and Palestinian communities. The President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations: Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life is comprised of San Francisco State University faculty, staff and students as well as community, civic and religious leaders.

Karen Clopton, chief of operations for the SFSU Foundation Inc., chairs the Task Force and she will report directly to President Corrigan. Clopton, an attorney, has been practicing labor and employment law for nearly 20 years. She served on the San Francisco Civil Service Commission for seven years with four years as president. She is also the presiding judge of the Ecclesiastical Court for the Episcopal Diocese of California.

The Task Force, which met for the first time on Thursday, June 13, was formed following heightened tension between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters on campus following Sept. 11 and culminated with inappropriate language and behavior during a May 7 campus rally.

The group will look at the University's curriculum, co-curricular activities, orientation programs for students, staff, administrators and faculty, colloquia and campus policies. The Task Force will also examine ways to maintain free speech, promote civility and mutual understanding and develop a more supportive climate for all campus groups.

A series of at least 10 "listening group" sessions will provide opportunities for members of the general public to voice suggestions and ideas on how to improve the campus climate between the two groups. The first session will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, June 17 in the Student Services Building, Room 402. The sessions are confidential and not open to the public.

"We want to give the Task Force an opportunity to gather recommendations on how to improve the relationship and dialogue of the Jewish and Palestinian communities on campus," said Clopton. "We want to provide a very welcoming, non-threatening and non-intimidating atmosphere for the community to express their views."

While a preliminary report is due to Corrigan by Aug. 1, the bulk of the Task Force work will begin in September, once the campus community returns in full from the summer recess.

The next Task Force meeting will be June 28. Meetings are not open to the public.

Task Force members representing the University are: Alvin Alvarez, counseling professor; Fred Astren, Jewish Studies professor; Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering; Khaldoun Baghdadi, attorney with Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, Echeverria; Patricia Bartscher, University counsel; Robert Cherney, history professor; Dennis Dubinsky, student representing Israel Coalition; Alan Fisk, coordinator in the Career Center; Will Flowers, Student Programs and Leadership Development director; Denise Fox, Human Resources director; Lillian Hyatt, emerita professor; Marcelle Kardush, psychology professor; Muata Kenyatta, director of Performing Arts of the Associated Students; Hamid Khani, broadcast and electronic communication arts professor; John Kim, psychology professor; Stanley Kowalcyzk, management professor; Eileen Levy, director of the School of Social Work; Gabriana Marks, student representing the General Union of Palestinian Students; Leticia Marquez-Magana, biology professor; Minoo Moallem, women studies professor; Kenneth Monteiro, dean of Human Relations; Nahiel Nazzal, student representing the General Union of Palestine Students; Ronda Newt-Scott, president of the Associated Students; Jacob Perea, dean of the College of Education; Mark Phillips, director of School Relations/Educational Outreach; Michael Santini, student representing the Muslim Students Association; Michael Shenoda, ethnic studies lecturer and a member of the Egyptian-American community; Dwight Simpson, international relations professor; Phil Ting, assistant director of community relations; Julie Vaquilar, coordinator of information/ registration and records for the College of Extended Learning; Pamela Vaughn, classics and world comparative literature professor; Penelope Warren, coordinator of Faculty and Staff Services in the Counseling Center; and Kim Wible, chief of Campus Police.

Task Force members representing the community are: Seth Brysk, Hillel's executive director; Paul Cohen, Hillel's Northern California field services consultant; Souleiman Ghali, president of the Islamic Society of San Francisco; Jess Ghannam, professor of psychology at University of California, San Francisco; Douglas Kahn, rabbi and executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council; Eyad Kishawi, member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Abeer Rafidi, executive director of the Arab Cultural Center; and Michael Yoshi, pastor of Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda.

For updated information about the University's actions surrounding this issue, visit

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs