Members of the UC Santa Barbara  Jewish student community and Associated Students President Tessa Veksler expressed their grievances in light of the Feb. 26 gathering and signage at the MultiCultural Center during the weekly Senate meeting on Feb. 28. 

The Associated Students (A.S.) Senate convenes weekly on Wednesdays in the University Center’s Flying A Room to pass legislation and discuss campus and student issues. 

The A.S. Senate convenes weekly on Wednesdays to pass legislation and discuss campus and student issues. Asumi Shuda / Daily Nexus

No pro-Palestine leaning students spoke at public forum.

UCSB Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn was present during the meeting to “listen to what people have to say.” 

Third-year sociology major Jasmine Amin was the first speaker at public forum at 7:51 p.m., and addressed a comment from the @ucsb.mcc Instagram account stating, “back to Poland or the USA tbh…..,” in response to a comment stating “hi, if palestine is freed from the river to the sea, where will the jews go?” 

“The school’s MCC Instagram replied to a comment from a Jew that said Jews should go back to Poland, and I think that that was absurd to see in 2024,” Amin said. “People need to be reprimanded for what happened.”

UCSB student Nora Thraen talked about facing antisemitism in personal interactions with former roommates.

“My roommate told me, ‘everyone in this apartment is pro-Palestine and we don’t want you to live here. We’re going to contact housing,’” Thraen said. “I shared this story because I want UCSB to address this unchecked wildfire of antisemitism that engages Jewish people in general and on campus.”

Fourth-year political science major and A.S. Jewish Commission Co-Chair Tom Hirshfeld spoke to the phrase, “Zionists not welcome” that was etched into the door to a student’s dorm. The writing was pointing at a mezuzah, a piece of parchment that some followers of Judaism attach to the doorposts of their homes.

“A mezuzah is not an Israeli symbol, it’s not a Zionist symbol. Every single Jew who practices to that degree has a mezuzah on their door. Why? Because it says you’re Jewish and this is your home,” Hirshfeld said. “And so for someone to walk the halls of a dorm, see a mezuzah and essentially deface it with rhetoric … is reprehensible.”

After Hirshfeld finished speaking, fourth-year political science major and Off-Campus Senator Jeffrey Adler asked Hirshfeld about an alleged comment he made on his personal Instagram account denouncing the student group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) at UCSB.

Hirshfeld responded to Adler’s claim by comparing JVP to the Association of German National Jews, calling JVP a “toxic, evil group.”

“During the 1930s, this group of Jews in Germany under the Weimar Republic, later under Hitler, organized. They said ‘look, we’re Germans, everything that’s going on here is great,’” Hirshfeld said. “As the Nuremberg Laws unfolded, they put out statements to the rest of the world, they said ‘look, this is all great.’”

“I’m equating JVP, a group which, on record, has justified October 7th, to this group of Jews who justified the Nuremberg laws.”

Fourth-year political science and communication double major Veksler then shared feeling unsafe following Monday’s signage with campus graffiti dissenting against her. 

“The unfortunate reality of this time is that I do not feel safe on campus. In the MCC on Monday, there were signs reading, ‘you can run but you can’t hide Tessa Veksler,’ and just this morning a campus bathroom was vandalized with graffiti targeting me as well,” Veksler said. 

“This is dehumanizing and rooted in antisemitism,” she continued. “This rhetoric targets, isolates and vilifies Jewish students. Even if the intention is not to be antisemitic, the impact is what matters.” 

Veksler described the incidents on Monday and subsequent campus graffiti as a result of complicity and neglect from the university. 

“This incident is not an isolated event, rather a culmination of neglecting to adequately address the implications of such speech and actions within our University,” she said. “UC Santa Barbara is remaining complicit in the target, intimidation and discrimination against its Jewish students.” 

Veksler described her engagement with Monday’s gathering at the MCC. 

“Throughout Monday, I engaged in meaningful conversations with many students. I listened to ways that I could better serve minority communities on campus, specifically Palestinian and Black students at UCSB,” Veksler said. “I look forward to continuing to work with these brave voices who raised what I’m sure were challenging feelings.” 

Veksler acknowledged the feedback she received from her student constituents during Monday’s gathering and advised the Senate to internalize the same sentiment. 

“That’s something that I realized when I was speaking to students at MCC — I was not doing enough,” Veksler said. “I should be going to events that make me feel uncomfortable and viewpoints that I disagree with because that’s my responsibility as a leader on this campus.”

“All I want is for you all to understand what is happening here, and the only way you’re going to do that is by involving yourself more in the community that is here today,” she continued. “Not about going to the events that are comfortable for you; you should be uncomfortable as someone in a political position.”

Veksler verbally reprimanded the Senate for allegedly being complicit in the graffiti in opposition to her.

“I have shown up here in nearly every single Senate meeting, not because I have to, but because I have wanted to support you as you navigated your roles. With the looks on your faces, you all clearly know what’s been happening to me,” Veksler said. “I’ve been waiting for people, in this association and outside of it, to take a stance against the hatred I’m experiencing or even asking if I’m okay.” 

“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me,” she continued. “I want you to fight against the unjustified harassment I am experiencing and against the discrimination the Jewish community on this campus is enduring.” 

Veksler also claimed and called out the Senate for allegedly continuing to be complicit with campus student activists. 

“A lot of the stuff that I see online says, ‘I’m in A.S. and I support this harassment.’ If that is any of you, you should stop right because you are a member of this organization, like it or not, and I’m your leader,” she said. “It’s unacceptable. You do not harass students, we do not call out students, we do not doxx students, any students regardless whether or not you agree.” 

“As people that wear A.S. as a labor on your back because you are sitting in this room, that is your responsibility. If you see something like that on campus, if you see my name graffitied on the wall, you say immediately take that down. You report it immediately,” she continued. “That is what you chose by being a part of this group, and if you don’t like that, you shouldn’t be a part of this association.”  

Off-Campus Senator and fourth-year political science major Michelle Lebowski described Monday’s gathering as “absolutely atrocious” and spoke to her personal experiences with the MCC.

“For two years now, I have honestly never felt comfortable in the MCC. As soon as you walk in, everyone just stares at you,” she said. “How are we supposed to, as senators, learn from other people who are unwelcome and excluding other people from their spaces?” 

Adler asked Veksler about her position as the A.S. President while being a pro-Israel leaning student amid campus discourse on Palestine and Israel, referencing her alleged, informal relationships with pro-Israel student groups.

“I hate doing this, but I’m going to do it. If I was a member of the Asian community and I was also the president, am I not allowed to sit on the board of an Asian BCU?” Veksler said in response. 

Adler retorted Veksler’s comment. 

“No one is talking about what’s allowed or not allowed. I’m saying that if you’re going to be party to a campus organization that’s making incendiary statements about this conflict, and then also mediate our discourse, I just don’t know how you can reconcile both of those claims,” he said. 

In response, Veksler spoke to her positionality in the campus discourse and iterated her right to participate in political discourse as a student, beyond her presidential position. 

“I don’t see how the state of the discourse is at the hands of one individual. You’re claiming that one individual has all this power over campus climate, as if every single person in this room doesn’t contribute to the campus climate,” she said. 

“I’m allowed to participate and engage in dialogue and have political opinions as long as I’m treating every single student on this campus with respect,” Veksler continued. 

Veksler asserted her rights to use her personal social media in discussing her political stance on Israel and being a Jewish student. 

“I will continue sharing my feelings and opinions on my personal social media, as is my right, and I will continue behaving in a professional and inclusive manner in my capacity as A.S. president,” she said. 

Veksler asserted her efforts in addressing the current campus climate. 

 “I’m taking every single form of feedback with respect, I am trying the best that I can,” she said. “If you want to follow me along on the day of my life, you can see that I sit with administration for 10 hours at a time trying to figure out the way that we’re going to solve the campus climate on this campus, and it’s really hard to do that when people are repeating my name on the wall.” 

Second-year political science major and Off-Campus Senator Micah Littlepage asked Veksler about ways she and the university plan on addressing the campus climate through the one-time funding from UC President Michael V. Drake “to help UC campuses address and combat … discrimination at the University.”

“We are being given half a million dollars in each UC by the Office of the President to work on this issue. And if you want to be a part of the decision making process, please contact me and I will make sure that I translate at least what your opinion is and what you’re thinking,” Veksler said in response. 

Second-year computer science major and Collegiate Engineering Senator Alvin Wang asked Veksler on what actions the university will be taking in response to the signage and graffiti. 

“I don’t have an ideal resolution right now. I need the administration to do a thorough investigation,” Veksler said in response. “I need them to understand where this came from. If you’re asking me what my goal is, my goal is accountability, but my goal is for Jews to be respected on this campus — that’s my ultimate goal. So it’s not about the individual that perpetuated something and it’s not even about me.” 

Second-year political science major and Off Campus Senator Nayali Broadway echoed Littlepage’s question in asking what the UC President’s one-time funding will specifically be used for. 

“They want to give universities the opportunity to specify the initiative for themselves depending on their campus climate,” Veksler said in response. “My understanding is that there’s already been some decisions about where the funding is going but I’m happy to share with you [more] once I get everything together.” 

The Senate motioned to end public forum at 10:15 p.m. and adjourned the meeting at 10:59 p.m.

The Nexus will continue to report on this topic as more information becomes available. 


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, 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 or
Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at