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Cal Poly Students Target Zionist Groups

[additional-authors]
April 17, 2018
Screenshot from YouTube.

A group of students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo issued a list of demands on April 13 in response to a racial incident; among the demands included a call for all non-Zionist clubs to have an increase in funding.

Cal Poly’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity posted photos online that featured a member donning blackface and other members posed with gang signs with the caption “She want a gangster not a pretty boy.” The university suspended the fraternity, but the fact that they did not expel the students prompted a backlash on campus.

As part of the backlash, a group of students called The Drylongso Collective, which describes itself as a group focused on ending “structural inequality” at Cal Poly, issued a letter with a litany of demands that the university undertake; the most controversial demand in the letter was the one that stated, “We want an increase in ASI [Associated Students Incorporated] funding for ALL cultural clubs, with the exception of organizations that are aligned with Zionist ideology.”

The Drylongso Collective attempted to justify this demand in a statement that was featured on the Cal Poly Multicultural Center’s Facebook page claiming that being anti-Zionist does not mean that they are anti-Semitic. The statement encouraged people to read the works of Jews Against Zionism, Noura Erakat, who happens to be the niece of a Palestinian Authority negotiator, and Angela Davis, who has past associations with the Black Panthers and Communist Party.

“Black folks and other People of Color have a long-standing history of standing in solidarity with Palestinian folks,” the statement reads. “The quotidian experiences of Palestinians include a long history of dealing with violence, colonization (particularly through land dispossession), and oppression. We cannot in good conscience advocate for our own liberation without being mindful of the current and historical liberation struggles of others locally, nationally, and globally.”

Later on, the statement added that The Drylongso Collective was focused on “anti-Black and anti-Brown racism at Cal Poly.”

“To attempt to decenter Blackness from our discussion by focusing on an accusation of anti-Semitism based on a false equivalency of Zionism and Judaism is deeply disturbing and speaks of not only the lack for anti-Semitic acts committed by non-Black/Brown students but also of the coalition work that remains to be done,” the statement reads.

Cal Poly Media Relations Director Matt Lazier told Campus Reform that the university would not consider The Drylongso Collective’s anti-Zionist demand.

“I can tell you that the specific point you reference about organizations aligned with Zionist ideology is not consistent with the university’s values and not something university administration will consider,” Lazier said.

Shiri Moshe of The Algemeiner noted The Drylongso Collective’s “demand would impact Jewish student groups including Hillel of San Luis Obispo, which has supported programming on campus related to Zionism, the movement for Jewish national-self determination in the Levant.”

“No other cultural clubs that cater to students of a particular national or ethnic background would be affected,” Moshe wrote.

The Drylongso Collective has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

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