The newly created University of California Palestine Collective continues to demand the resignation of UC Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib following its critical open letter published last month.

The UC Regents did not respond to requests for comment. Courtesy of University of California

Over 120 student, faculty and community organizations signed the open letter on Dec. 12 following allegations of Leib’s public engagement with “racist, anti-Palestinian, and homophobic social media posts,” including “targeted attempts to harass and dox students,” according to a media release email by the group.  

“As the first and most troubling example, Leib recently liked a post published on X (dated 11/05/2023) that equated a group of protestors holding a sign, ‘Queers for Palestine,’ with an image of cows bearing a sign that read ‘Cows for McDonald’s,’” the UC Palestine Collective statement read. 

The UC Regents did not respond to requests for comment. 

The statement’s signatories include the UC Palestinian Faculty Council and the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council, among other system-wide organizations and professors. It also condemned the complicity of UC President Michael V. Drake and campus chancellors as the crisis in Gaza continues. 

The Gaza death count has reached over 24,000, according to Palestinian authorities. 

“UC President Michael Drake and campus chancellors — who recently issued public statements vowing zero tolerance for campus bigotry — have turned a blind eye to this shameless display of hatred from our Regents Chair, while also remaining steadfast in their efforts to censor, vilify and criminalize students who speak up in support of Palestinian rights,” the media release email read. 

The statement cites several instances of Leib engaging with such social media posts doxxing students who have criticized the state of Israel, asserting false claims of Hamas using hospitals as military headquarters and undermining the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions Movement

“We must be clear: Richard Leib is in a position of unprecedented power as the UC Regents Chair,” the statement read. “His position as the Regents Chair has placed him at the center of critical UC-wide decisions that threaten the safety and expression of our Palestinian students and faculty.” 

The letter wrote that Leib’s actions amid the current crisis in Gaza, alongside the actions of Drake, have “fueled dangerous levels of discrimination, harassment, and censorship that continue to be the normalized reality for Palestinian rights’ activists on our campuses.” This was in reference to a statement issued by Drake and the UC chancellors on Nov. 10. 

“Words matter, now more than ever before,” the statement read. 

Since the publishing of the open letter, Leib announced that he would not resign and declined to comment on his social media engagement, according to the Los Angeles Times

“In the article, he also refuses to address the point that his online behavior, such as liking Tweets that doxxed students, is exactly what has made students feel unsafe on our campuses and question his ability to protect them,” the UC Palestine Collective said in an email statement to the Nexus.

“As students and faculty, we cannot and will not allow this to become our legacy — they do not represent us, and we will continue uniting to show that there will be no more business as usual.” 

A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Jan. 25, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

Print

Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Co Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.