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Preliminary Status Report and Recommendations to the President
from the President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations:
Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life


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August 1, 2002


Original Charge of the Task Force

List of Current Task Force Members

Letter from the Chair

Summary of Initial Recommendations

Suggestions for Implementation of Long-Term Task Force Agenda


Sources of Information Utilized by Task Force

Original Charge of the Task Force

*President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations with a Focus on Jewish/Palestinian Communities

This presidential task force will examine inter-group relations at San Francisco State University 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 Task Force is charged with a short-term, action-oriented agenda and a longer-term agenda that will dovetail with that of the current Commission on University Strategic Planning (CUSP II). The short-term tasks for the Task Force are:

  • to recommend immediate actions that can be taken to improve campus climate for our Jewish and Palestinian communities
  • to consider various facets of the University that may be relevant to issues raised by the Jewish, Palestinian and related communities regarding recent events on campus. These may include the University's curriculum; co-curricular activities; orientation programs for students, staff, administrators and faculty; colloquia; and campus policies
  • to recommend to the president by August 1, 2002 those immediate actions that should be taken by appropriate areas of the University

Drawing from the preliminary report and agenda, the Task Force, in consultation with the president and the CUSP II group, will develop a long-term agenda including the following tasks:

  • to study more comprehensively the issues in the August 1, 2002 report that demand continued attention
  • to relate, where appropriate, Jewish and Palestinian community concerns to those regarding inter-group relations among other SFSU communities, e.g. racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual identity, disability or other social or cultural communities
  • to recommend actions that continue to improve campus climate for our Jewish and Palestinian communities in manner that complements the ongoing work of the CUSP II process

The term of the Task Force will be determined within the context of the CUSP II strategic planning process.

* On July 17, 2002, name changed to President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations: Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life

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List of Current Task Force Members

  • Professor Alvin Alvarez, Counseling Department
  • Professor Fred Astren, Jewish Studies Program
  • Dean Sheldon Axler, Science and Engineering
  • Mr. Khaldoun Baghdadi, Attorney with Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, Echeverria
  • Ms. Patty Bartscher, SFSU Counsel
  • Mr. Seth Brysk, Director, San Francisco Hillel
  • Professor Robert Cherny, Academic Senate/History
  • Ms. Karen Clopton, Chief of Operations, SFSU Foundation, Inc.
  • Mr. Paul Cohen, Hillel Northern California Field Services Consultant
  • Mr. Dennis Dubinsky, Israel Coalition Student Representative
  • Mr. Alan Fisk, Career Center
  • Mr. Will Flowers, Director, Student Programs/Office of Leadership Development
  • Ms. Denise Fox, Director, Human Resources
  • Mr. Souleiman Ghali, President, Islamic Society of San Francisco
  • Dr. Jess Ghannam, UCSF Professor of Psychology
  • Professor Lillian Hyatt, Emerita, Professor SFSU
  • Rabbi Douglas Kahn, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, San Francisco
  • Professor Marcelle Kardush, Psychology
  • Mr. Muata Kenyatta, Director, Performing Arts, ASI (MSA Advisor)
  • Professor Hamid Khani, BECA
  • Professor John Kim, Chair, Psychology
  • Mr. Eyad Kishawi, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • Professor Stan Kowalczyk, Management
  • Professor Eileen Levy, Director, School of Social Work
  • Ms. Gabriana Marks, Hillel Student Representative
  • Professor Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Biology
  • *Professor Minoo Moallem, Chair, Women's Studies
  • Dean Kenneth Monteiro, Human Relations/Psychology
  • Ms. Nahiel Nazzal, GUPS Representative
  • Ms. Ronda Newt-Scott, President, Associated Students, Inc.
  • Dean Jacob Perea, College of Education
  • Mr. Mark Phillips, Government & Community Relations/Sec. Ed.
  • Ms. Abeer Rafidi, Executive Director, Arab Cultural Center
  • Mr. Michael Santini, MSA Representative
  • Mr. Matthew Shenoda, Lecturer, Ethnic Studies
  • Professor Dwight Simpson, Int'l Relations - Center for Interdisc Programs
  • Mr. Phil Ting, Government & Community Relations
  • Ms. Julie Vaquilar, (Staff) College of Extended Learning
  • Professor Pamela Vaughn, Chair, Classics and Comparative & World Literature
  • Dr. Penelope Warren, Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Chief Kim Wible, Department of Public Safety
  • Reverend Michael Yoshi, Buena Vista United Methodist Church

* Effective as of September 1, 2002

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Letter from the Chair

Dear President Corrigan:

On behalf of the Task Force, I am pleased to submit this preliminary status report and recommendations for improving inter-group relations on campus, with a special emphasis on the Jewish and Palestinian communities. Your original charge commissioned the President's Task Force on Inter-Group Relations with a Focus on Jewish/Palestinian Communities. After considerable deliberation, the Task Force requested and you agreed that the focus should be broadened and thus, the name of the Task Force has been modified, with your approval, to "The President's Task Force on Inter-group Relations: Initial Focus on the Effect of Middle East Issues on Campus Life."

In addition to the broadening of the initial focus, the Task Force requested and you agreed to include additional student and community representatives. As a result, the current membership of the Task Force has 42 members who represent several University academic and administrative departments, student organizations, and the greater Arab, Jewish and Muslim communities. While all of the members of the Task Force have been provided with the opportunity to attend Task Force meetings, sub-committee meetings, listening groups, and review drafts of this report, it is neither intended to reflect a consensus of opinion of all 42 members nor to imply endorsement by any individual member. This report is not the culmination of the process but instead the beginning.

We are attempting to address the short-term tasks mandated in the charge and recommend immediate actions that can begin to address improving inter-group relations in the following areas:

  • Campus Policies on the conduct of rallies and the expression of free speech
  • Orientation programs for students, staff, administrators and faculty
  • Colloquia, special events, and discussions
  • Psychological Counseling Services
  • Employment Practices
  • University Curriculum

This preliminary report is precisely that, preliminary; however, we have made considerable progress over the summer despite vacation schedules and other member time constraints. We have engaged in several discussions on student discipline, several Task Force members have raised concerns about student and organizational disciplinary procedures and we will continue to discuss this issue in the fall both in the Task Force as a whole and on the sub-committee level. In addition, several Task Force members wish to address lawful and productive ways to respond to speech that is morally repugnant and counter to a peaceful learning environment.

I believe that these seminal recommendations will stimulate immediate and constructive actions. I also believe that as the Task Force membership becomes better acquainted with each other and the University's operating procedures, we will be better able to help develop a long-term comprehensive agenda to address inter-group relations on campus.

The Task Force is committed to carrying out your charge. A half day retreat in early fall would foster good will and create more trust between the Task Force members. We are also requesting additional clerical support. After the summary of initial recommendations, we have made some preliminary suggestions for the implementation of the long-term agenda of the Task Force.

We will be setting a regular monthly meeting schedule for the fall semester for the Task Force, as charged; to study more comprehensively the issues that demand continued attention. We will also begin to address inter-group relations among other university communities.

I remain at your service.

Very truly yours,

Karen V. Clopton

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Summary of Initial Recommendations -- Preliminary Report 8/1/02

Campus policies on the conduct of rallies and the expression of free speech

1. Broadly disseminate First Amendment and Free Speech rights and what constitutes both protected speech and non-protected speech under the First Amendment.

2. Review and revise the policies related to student organizations and the conduct of rallies:

a. Use of Buildings and Grounds, Executive Directive 89-13 regulating time, place, and manner
b. OSPLD policies for registering and holding events
c. Student Center policies for use of facilities
d. Student code of conduct (Title V).

3. The Task Force subcommittee may provide oversight on this, but it will be most important to bring together the Student Center Governing Board, Associated Students, Inc., Academic Senate Student Affairs Committee, OSPLD, and VP Student Affairs office to discuss coordinating these policies and eliminating discrepancies among them.

4. We are also recommending revision of particular aspects of the policies, such as distance between groups with opposing views, posting of flags and banners, responsibilities of students, student organizations, off-campus visitors and faculty advisors, and other important details.

5. Disseminate widely all policies and procedures, when revised, to all student organizations, faculty advisors, and other parties. These policies should be readily available on a web site as well as available in hard copy.

6. Develop a process to respond to speech, conduct, and activities, which might be protected by the law but are offensive and emotionally and physically adverse to a safe learning environment.

Orientation programs for students, staff, administrators, and faculty

What the University needs:

  • A mechanism for constructive interaction
  • Development of a true campus community, not just special interests
  • Clearly articulated standards and criteria incorporating -- at a minimum -- principles of
    • Respect
    • Civility
    • Conflict resolution
    • Freedom of speech
    • Appreciation of diversity

Orientation should have three FOCI:

1. Initial orientation programs for new faculty, staff, and students

These programs are currently conducted by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching, Human Resources, and Undergraduate Studies. Human Relations (with cooperation of Counseling, Associated Students, CFA, Academic Senate, and others as appropriate) should offer workshops and training to those conducting orientations as well as to the new faculty, staff, and students. The student orientation should engage student leaders in discussions on free speech, hate speech, and the role of the campus community in creating a climate for civil discourse on campus.

2. Orientation for current employees

Programs (similar to what is developed in (1) above, should be developed for current employees and students, with the oversight of Human Resources/Counseling, and coordination among deans, department chairs and program directors. The Academic Senate could provide leadership in establishing policies and codes of conduct.

3. Ongoing orientation

Establish a team to conduct ongoing in-service trainings and act as a resource for inquiries, complaints and requests for education, interventions, etc.; involve Faculty Affairs, Academic Senate (issues of professional ethics, review of tenured faculty, etc.), Associated Students, OSPLD, and so on.

4. Encourage students at orientation to seek pro-active opportunities to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds, including members of groups that are sometimes in disagreement over political issues, to foster dialogue and promote cooperation.

Colloquia, Special Events, and Discussions

1. The University should foster the creation of an interfaith and inter-group student organization that:

a. encourages interfaith dialogue

b. includes the range of the faith communities and those which do not practice faith but wish to be included in the dialogue

c. has on and off campus sponsors, advisors and support

d. produces a publication so as to educate the wider campus

e. partners with groups such as the United Religions Initiative, The Ecumenical House, Hillel, The Muslim community, St. Thomas Moore Newman Center and others.

2. Provide educational programming around the showing of appropriate films such as the documentary, "Promises", which presents Middle East issues from the perspective of Jewish and Palestinian children. In addition, we might consider collaboration with the Jewish Film festival and Arab Film festivals to bring in a variety of films and a variety of community resources, broader cultural arts.

3. Sponsor multi-cultural arts groups/musical groups that include both Arab and Jewish musicians performing together.

4. Community service projects (a shared value of different cultures; e.g. feeding the homeless, visiting elderly, local ecological projects).

5. Food Festival (more developed and inclusive than the current format, which is essentially a fundraiser for various student groups; e.g. cooking classes, taste sessions, guest instructors from the culinary academy, the history of cuisine).

6. University sponsored debates of divergent views (with questions and answers for students to ask pointed questions of panelists).

7. Open Houses (campus-sponsored trips to various houses of worship).

Psychological Counseling Services

1. The University should fund the study of mental health service needs of Arab, Jewish and Muslim student populations as these might concern Counseling and Psychological Services, in particular, and the larger University community in general.

2. The director of Counseling and Psychological Services should consider the creation of various student advisory boards to clarify student needs, gather feedback about how services might be offered most effectively to specific populations, and to help forge facilitative connections with groups that might otherwise be hesitant to use the services of the unit.

3. In the present context, separate advisory boards opening up conversations with Arab, Jewish and Muslim student groups should be established.

4. Ensure that sufficient faculty in Counseling and Psychological Services continues to include individuals with expertise in addressing the concerns of Jewish students and add one or more clinicians with specific expertise and experience in addressing the concerns of those from the Arab World or of Arab descent and Muslim students. In the absence of such clinicians on campus, the University should identify appropriate potential volunteer clinicians from off-campus.

5. Counseling and Psychological Services should continue its program of on-going professional development, giving high priority to clinical issues related to the experience of students of Arab decent and to Muslim and Jewish students on campus. The University should augment the unit's budget for such professional development.

6. The University should identify a continuum of services, programs and human resources on, and off-campus that are appropriately differentiated in terms of functions, expertise and other qualifications to address emotional, social and educational needs that go beyond the need for clinical services, e.g. mentoring, advising.

7. Since the availability of psychological counseling is but one component in establishing an emotionally healthy campus climate, the University should provide on-going educational experiences, for students, faculty, staff, and administrators relevant to the Task Force's area of concern.

8. Similarly, while Counseling and Psychological Services has a share in promoting cultural competency within the campus community, the unit does not bear this responsibility by itself. Therefore, the University should support the development of on-going educational programs fostering such competency, especially as it relates to Arab, Jewish and Islamic cultures.

Employment Practices

1. Ensure that sufficient faculty in Counseling and Psychological Services continues to include individuals with expertise in addressing the concerns of Jewish students and hire Arab, Jewish and Muslim sensitive staff to better serve the Arab, Jewish and Muslim student population.

2. Evaluate the capacity of CAPS staff to address particular psychological needs of Arab, Jewish and Muslim students.

3. Ask relevant university departments to review their curriculum for deficiencies in the study of the Arab and Islamic World as well as Jewish history and people. Departments are then encouraged to request new faculty hires to redress identified problems so as to develop cultural competency around issues pertaining to the Middle East.

4. Faculty and staff should understand the diverse campus community of SFSU and be equipped (through orientation, training, literature, updates, and periodic re-training) to meet the needs of all students. The training and hiring considerations should be applied to existing staff as well and should consider sensitivities to all cultures, races, religions, etc.

University Curriculum

1. Regarding co-curricular activities, the Task Force recognizes that at least six major units (Council of Academic Deans, Associated Students Performing Arts and Lectures, Associated Students Inc., Cesar Chavez Center Richard Oakes Multicultural Center, Student Affairs and the Office of Human Relations) are all likely to be conducting co-curricular activities for the fall and our best information indicates that they are not currently collaborating.

a. For the fall, the University should, at a minimum, maintain a master calendar of events in order to insure some coordination.

b. Ideally, these groups should be encouraged to collaborate where possible in the fall.

c. The University should commit centralized support for spring programming and provide a mechanism for a comprehensive set of collaborations for spring that include the areas of cultural diversity, (particularly insuring coverage of the Jewish, Arab, Islamic and Muslim communities), inter-group communications, and conflict resolution.

2. We recognize that SFSU established a Jewish Studies program, after many years of deliberation and that it was created with the financial support of the local Jewish community. We now recommend the establishment of an Arab and Islamic Studies program dedicated to the study of the Arab world and Islamic civilizations.

a. The curriculum should be anchored in community fieldwork and authentic scholarship of the Arab and Islamic peoples first, and, second, from the perspective of recognized scholars and authorities in the study of the Arab World and Islamic Civilizations and not from a Eurocentric or Colonial point of view.

b. The program should be stand-alone and autonomous serving both the general education requirements as well as specialization in the fields of Arab and Islamic studies as a separate program.

c. The suggested colleges for housing the department are Behavioral and Social Sciences, Ethnic Studies, or Humanities.

d. The program will be established after hiring two fulltime faculty members, one expert in the scholarship of the Arab world and the other in Islamic Studies (this is modeled after the Jewish Studies Program two FTE's). The suggested areas of study are: Languages (Arabic, Farsi and Turkish); Sociology of the regions and peoples; History of the regions and the Diaspora; Political Science; Cultural Anthropology; Literature; Religious Studies; Philosophy; International Relations; Economics; Creative Arts; Psychology.

e. We recommend that the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Humanities and Ethnic Studies support the hiring process logistically and financially.

3. Establish an Islamic Studies Endowment Advisory Council or visiting committee to help raise private funding in cooperation with the University's Office of Development. The Jewish Studies Program should be encouraged to reactivate its Board of Advisors.

4. Include an FTE line in Jewish Studies for Israel Studies to supplement its already existing two FTE's.

5. Encourage opportunities for cross-cultural studies where appropriate in both co-curricular and interdisciplinary programs.

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Suggestions for Implementation of Long-Term Task Force Agenda

Support for the Task Force Activities

1. The Task Force wishes to develop greater cohesiveness and focus within the Task Force. The Task Force will hold a facilitated retreat early in the fall to better focus its work and develop strong working relationships.

2. The Task Force anticipates a greater need for data and information gathering from the campus community. The Task Force will need to enlist the assistance of a research group to collect relevant archival data (previous human relations studies, PULSE, campus data), focus groups and survey data to inform the long-term decision-making.

3. The Task Force requests adequate staffing to address its significant and demanding clerical support needs.

Long-term recommendations for Improving Employment Practices

1. Engage in a limited self-study of student needs (e.g. through focus groups), and current employment practices around issues of race, culture, and identity so as to develop better policy recommendations.

2. Encourage departments and organizational units to have discussions and conduct workshops centered around the diversity strategic planning process that is currently being implemented across campus.

3. Bring value to activities of staff, faculty, and administration that demonstrate a commitment to meeting the needs of the diverse student body. Perhaps all members of the University work force should be evaluated on their impact in this important area. We should look to current employment policies for a mechanism to adopt this recommendation university-wide.

4. Increase communication/interaction with CUSPII so as to develop recommendations for improved employment practices that are mutually supported.

5. Establish opportunities to mentor our own students for academic careers, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences so as to create a more diverse pool of teachers for the CSU, community colleges, and other universities.

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1. The Task Force had four meeting as a whole, which met on June 13, June 28, July 17, and July 29. The agenda for each meeting is attached. Task Force members also attended Listening Groups and Sub-Committee meetings.

2. The Listening Groups were made up of 3-5 Task Force members at each session. To date they have had 18 scheduled Listening Group Sessions, out reach was done through campus e-mail and press releases to San Francisco media outlets. 50 people from campus and community came to speak. In addition, 29 different Task Force members participated as listeners.

3. The Sub-Committees were also made up of various Task Force members, the Sub-Committees are as follows:

  • University's Curriculum
  • Codes of Conduct/Freedom of Speech
  • Faculty and Student Orientations
  • Special Colloquia and Discussions
  • Hiring Practices
  • Psychological Counseling Services

The above Sub-Committees have each held at least two separate meetings to date.

4. The Task Force set up an e-mail address ( for the community to voice their suggestions and opinions. To date we have received seven e-mails.

5. The Task Force also set up a phone number (415-338-7922) for the community to voice their suggestions and opinions. To date we have received two voice messages.

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Sources of Information Utilized by Task Force

5/16/02: The University's summary of events, describing recent activities on campus and the University's response to them.


09/11/01: Campus closes; SFSU community unites in sorrow

09/12/01: Classes resume; 'hardest days may lie ahead'

09/17/01: Spirit of mutual support, avoidance of scapegoating mark campus response

09/24/01: Campus adopts "Love is stronger than hate" message

09/25/01: Response to tragedy a powerful civics lesson for SFSU students

10/08/01: Free Speech and civility: keeping the balance

10/24/01: International students: "You have a family here"

11/05/01: I am very proud of the work we have done

4/05/02: Campus challenge: "To speak and act in a way that recognizes the humanity of all members of our community."

4/12/02: 'Hate speech is not free speech': Corrigan decries anti-Semitic flier promoting rally

4/12/02: Welcoming remarks delivered by President Robert A. Corrigan to the Model Arab League

4/30/02: President's letter of appreciation for the Muslim Student Association's letter of apology

05/07/02: Human Relations Dean: "Individually and collectively we can do much"

Department of Public Safety video of May 7, 2002 events

5/13/02: 'I invite you to join me in speaking out for this University's true values'

05/14/02: Academic Senate Chair: "Resolve and action required"

05/14/02: Academic Senate unanimously passes a Resolution in Support of Civil Discourse and the Principles of the Academy

05/15/02: San Francisco Chronicle publishes op-ed by Professor Mark Phillips: 'Fear and anger -- Raw emotionalism of Mideast comes to San Francisco State rally'

05/20/02: President's Message: "Look to the University Web site for updates"

05/22/02: We cannot afford to distort each other's positions

Principles of Conduct for a Multi-Cultural University

Executive Summary of the Final Report of the Commission on Human Relations: Focus on Racism and Other Forms of Discrimination

Communications regarding student mediation: Including letter to mediator D. Fischer, letter to student groups

Communications regarding creation of the President's Task Force: Including copy of charge and sample invitation letters.

June 1995 Report from the San Francisco Hillel Jewish Student Center and the Jewish Community Council: "Anti-Semitism at San Francisco State University"

May 30, 2002 Recommendations from the Vice President of Academic Affairs Taskforce on Civil Discourse

Original Email from Professor Zoloth

Sample Emails received in response to Zoloth email and subsequent media coverage

Sample print media coverage May 10th - June 11th (Public affairs also has apes of other media, e.g. television coverage) including headlines:

May 13 -- FrontPage Magazine "Anti-Semitic Pogrom at San Francisco State" as a title for a reprint of Zoloth's email

May 16 -- S. F. Examiner "Jihad on Campus?"

May 16 -- Time Herald "Hate University"

May 16 -- Jerusalem Post "Anti-Semitic riot at San Francisco State University"

The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2001 " Accommodating Diversity" -- Council on American-Islamic Relations Research Center (CAIR)

"SFSU names Jewish History, ethics scholar Marc Dollinger to endowed Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility"

Office of Student Programs Leadership Development (Student Handbook) -- Division of Student Affairs

Sub-Committee Meeting of Special Colloquia and Discussion Report and Recommendation -- Prepared by Interfaith Understanding, Lillian Hyatt

Ensuring Equal Access to Quality Education -- Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education

Racial Harassment in Education Institutions a Checklist for Administrators -- Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education

Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions; Investigative Guidance; Notice -- Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education

Proposal from Professor Anton, Re: Peace Studies

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

GUPS, MSA and ADC-SF's complaint regarding discriminatory and other unlawful practices at San Francisco State University directed against the Arab/Muslim-American community filed with the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

Bay Guardian articles: "State of Unrest" -- 07/10/02

San Francisco Chronicle "So close, so far" -- 04/19/02

Counseling and Psychological Services -- San Francisco State University Mission Statement

The United Religions Initiative Charter

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