University of California system considering a move to ban political speech – Washington Examiner

The University of California is considering a proposal to bar academic departments from posting political statements on their homepages.

The board of regents is set to vote as early as Wednesday on the proposal, which would require any political statement issued by a department to adhere to stricter guidelines. The policy would affect all 10 University of California schools. 

Political statements are currently allowed on campuses so long as they do not comment on electoral politics. The new proposal would limit department pages from posting only “day-to-day operations,” such as course descriptions and campus events. Opinions would be allowed on other university websites, but those would need a disclaimer that they are not endorsed by the university.

The proposal is seen as a response to rising antisemitism on campuses in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Jewish students, faculty, and alumni have accused pro-Palestinian protesters of expressing antisemitic speech. 

One regent, Jay Sures, said there are many other ways for faculty to express their political opinions without using departmental pages, which could be misconstrued as the university endorsing the message.

“The faculty can have their Twitter accounts,” Sures said at a January regents meeting. “They can do social media. They can publish peer studies. There are so many other ways.”

Some are concerned that the proposal is politically motivated. James Steintrager, the chairman of the university’s academic senate, expressed concerns that the new policy could invite outsiders to criticize academia. 

“It’s not only about straightforwardly political statements about some world events but also about things like climate change, vaccine science, things like that,” he said.

The new policy highlights differing views of faculty and administration within the University of California system. 

Two days after Hamas attacked Israel, University of California President Michael Drake issued a statement condemning the attacks, calling them “horrific” and “acts of terrorism.” In response, the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council wrote a letter to several regents and the president rejecting the statement and saying that it lacked a “full understanding of this historical moment.”

“We call on the UC administrative leadership to retract its charges of terrorism, to uplift the Palestinian freedom struggle, and to stand against Israel’s war crimes against and ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people,” the letter said.


Sures found the council’s response “appalling and repugnant.”

“Your letter is rife with falsehoods about Israel and seeks to legitimize and defend the horrific savagery of the Hamas massacre of October 7,” Sures said in a letter back to the council. “Simply put, October 7 was the deadliest single day for Jews since the Holocaust.”