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It Does Pencil Out

Response from Celebration of Abraham

Dear Friends,

We are overwhelmed with grief over the violence in Israel and Gaza. We know that the feelings of many of the members of our community regardless of their religious tradition are raw. Folks are exhausted and confused as we all try to understand the atrocities visited on our brothers and sisters that are resulting from the conflict. As the Celebration of Abraham tried to discern how to respond, we received the International House email that expressed that group’s distress and then affirmed the statement developed by the University of California Davis Cross-Cultural Center. The carefully crafted statement of the Cross-Cultural Center reflected the Celebration of Abraham’s thinking and, so we like International House are choosing to uphold the following statement:

“While no statement or message can encompass the historical breadth and political depth of this complex conflict, we want to acknowledge that the language and narratives used by media and in various statements can compound and increase feelings of vulnerability and distress.

We recognize that words matter and are concerned about dangerous rhetoric that can lead to increased anti-Arab sentiment, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. This impact can include but is not limited to, people feeling unsafe emotionally and physically due to doxxing, surveillance, threats, and fear of voicing their opinion or perspective.

As a community, we encourage folks to be mindful of where they receive information, apply critical thinking skills when evaluating sources, and be open to deepening their knowledge around multiple perspectives.”

We, like International House, thank the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center for naming concerns and encouraging thoughtful consideration. We also thank the International House for reminding us that if we work to deepen our knowledge of others and practice deep compassion, we can realize what connects us as humans is stronger than the difference that divides us.

With a prayer for peace for all,

Helen Roland Cramer, Chair

Celebration of Abraham


Alan C. Miller

The Celebration of Alan would like to acknowledge that something bad happened in Davis, or the world, and in my position as the person both celebrating myself and being celebrated by myself, and as an entity in Yolo County, I feel the need to put together a carefully crafted statement about all the bad things going on, everywhere, and that they shouldn't go on, and I condemn them all. That is my carefully crafted statement. Have a nice day.

South of Davis

I don't get why there is some expectation that everyone make a "carefully crafted statement" every time someone bombs (or maybe didn't bomb) something in the Middle East? Nobody would ask the president of UCD (or Harvard) to make a "carefully crafted statement" if someone blew up a building in Brazil (or India). It is hard for the people asked to make "carefully crafted statements" since few of us are as gifted as VP Kamala Harris where we can make a long statement that says nothing (and offends nobody). More than once this week I have read about people spending the time to issue a follow up statement since the first statement was not "carefully crafted" enough to not offend someone somewhere...

Tuvia ben Olam

A problem with these "well crafted statements" is that they often perpetuate false equivalencies between the parties in a conflict. ... and as mentioned above they often end up being safe and innocuous.

Perhaps it's not actually very useful for a public university to do this kind of statement, even if there are members of or anyone who identifies as connected within the community. Better, perhaps, would be for the university tot address specific issues relating to the conflict and academia such as intellectual debate or lack thereof, transparency, educational methods, quality of journalism, etc

Alan C. Miller

Tuvia, an intellectual debate at a college (that doesn't get shut down by the far left) ? Why, I've never heard of such a thing!

. . . well, actually I did, up until the last decade.

Glad y'all got the point of my statement. It was meant as intentional pointed humor, not as a joke . . . a follow-up to the political statements on the bomb threats. Like hey, current City Council members, I may not agree with much (or most) of your views and policies, but I never for a moment doubted that any of you were not in favor of bomb threats or the disruptions that they cause. You did not, not one of you or y'all as a group, need to put out a statement to clarify that.

R Keller

From the President of Bowdoin College. This seems like the right approach to me


“October 19, 2023
Offering Support

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

I write to you with a heavy heart, weighed down by the brutal acts of terrorism committed by Hamas, by the tragic loss of innocent life in Israel and Gaza, by the rise of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and actions, by worry about what is to come, and by the pain that so many of us are feeling and that some of you have shared with me.

I have hesitated to issue an institutional statement. I know that some of you have found this to be frustrating and disappointing, and a few of you have told me that this has added to your pain. I am truly sorry for that. I also believe this is the correct, if imperfect, approach.

My hesitation about statements is not because of inattention, distraction, or indifference. It is because I believe these statements often don’t do what we want them to do. In some cases, they oversimplify issues and divide communities. They can also be parsed for clues to assumptions that are not there and can be read in ways that amplify and harden divisions within our community rather than opening up opportunities to grieve, think, and learn together.

For these and other reasons, I decided upon my arrival at Bowdoin—and shared this decision with several of you—that it would not be my practice to issue statements of this type. I am writing this message not because I have changed my mind, but because I have not yet had a chance to explain my perspective on statements to all of you, and because my overarching priority is to support students and others on our campus in times like these.

I know that the crisis in Israel and Gaza is impacting members of the Bowdoin community, directly and indirectly. I am grateful for the conversations I’ve been able to have with students, faculty, and staff, and I appreciate and admire these individuals' willingness to be vulnerable and open about their pain, anger, and confusion about this crisis, and to have difficult conversations with me and with each other. These conversations are well underway, and there will be more of them in the days and weeks ahead—some will be structured by different campus offices, some will be led by faculty, and some will happen spontaneously in other campus spaces. Details about some upcoming programming will be shared with you later today.

Bowdoin is well positioned for moments like these—to provide the spaces, structures, and support for all of us to have the hard conversations that can bring us together, instead of pushing us apart. I know these conversations will be difficult, and we won’t always get them right. I hope that as we grieve for the victims of violence, worry about the future, and hope for peace, we can find in ourselves the capacity to hear and learn from others, and to support each other in these difficult times.

I understand that not everyone will agree with my approach to this. Please know that my door and inbox are open—I am always willing to talk and listen.



Alan C. Miller

The right approach to WHAT?


Has everyone seen this?

"UC Davis condemns social media post threatening Jewish reporters made by professor"


Ron O

Keith - Wow.

Do you suppose the Davis police department/FBI is investigating that implied threat?

Seems a lot more explicit than anything coming from someone associated with Moms for Liberty.

Could it be that the community itself (including its police department) engages in "selective concern"?

Also, since when did UCD establish a "code of conduct" for their professors, as mentioned in the article? (I ask because nothing apparently happened to the other professor who made similar remarks regarding police, several years ago.)

Ron O

Quotes from the article that Keith provided:

"they have houses with addresses, kids in school"

"they can fear our bosses, but they should fear us more" (Followed by emojis of a knife, hatchet, blood drops)

I see that this is an Associate professor (of African Studies), so I assume she has no tenure (and whatever protection that provides).

Why am I not surprised that someone attracted to teach African American Studies would make comments like this, and expect (what, exactly) as a result?

But again, I'm seeing "selective concern" by the community itself, compared to the reaction regarding the library incident.

For that matter, there was "selective concern" regarding whatever the local Imam said a few years back. (In other words, the reaction was quite "muted".)

The reason for the selective concern is the result of political views.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, just a couple of points of clarification --

I think the professor in question is an Assistant Professor, not Associate as the article reported, although I am not 100% sure. Associate professors are generally (in the vast majority of cases) tenured. Assistant is tenure track, but not (yet) tenured.

Yes, there has long (always?) been a code of conduct for faculty, but as you point out, it's tough to violate it.

I agree that this is a fairly direct threat of violence and I hope that it gets treated as such. It feels very personal for me to have this coming from a fellow UCD faculty member, even if I am retired now. I think this has only recently come to people's attention (even though the post to Twitter was almost a week ago) and I expect -- hope -- we'll be be hearing more about this from UCD and the community in the days to come. I do hope that this is properly investigated as a threat.

I disagree strongly with your comment about African American studies professors. This is extremely over the top, for any field.

Chancellor May's response is linked from the article that Keith linked to, but in case you missed it, here it is again: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/statement-chancellor-may-comments-attributed-faculty-member

Ron O

Correction, the quote above should state that they can fear THEIR bosses.

In any case, below is yet another professor making inappropriate comments (in regard to his OWN STUDENTS).

"UC Berkeley law professor challenged after urging firms not to hire his ‘anti-semitic’ students"


No other profession would tolerate any of this. This professor's comments are in DIRECT CONFLICT with the purpose of the institution (as noted by the dean), in regard to helping all of their students find employment.

If an employer made a comment like this in regard to one of their employees, I suspect they'd face legal consequences.

Ron O

"I disagree strongly with your comment about African American studies professors. This is extremely over the top, for any field."

I figured that this observation would generate disagreement. But I stand by it, regarding this "type" of field/major attracting a disproportionate number of extremists, thereby creating a hostile environment for some students and societal division.

And in this particular case, a menace to society at large.

This is "academic freedom" at work. No other field would tolerate this.

Nor does it help anyone get a job, which is ultimately the primary reason for college. (Unless one can get a job teaching "fill-in-the-blank" ethnic studies.)

Can't help but be reminded of how the city itself ultimately removed a school board member, largely based upon undesirable skin color.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, I think your comments make it extremely clear where you are coming from.

Ron O

I don't know "where you think I'm coming from", Roberta.

Other than I think professors have too much freedom to say whatever they want without consequences, which you seemed to agree with. At least, when compared to other fields.

That goes for professors who advocate against employment for their own students, as well (in regard to the Berkeley professor). (Though that doesn't compare to what UCD's professor(s) have said, as noted above.)

Ultimately, universities exist to serve students and the community at large, not the other-way around. (Where have I heard something similar, before?)

For that matter, I don't know why taxpayers are forced to subsidize someone like Elmendorf's advocacy, in regard to his (and the state's) war against communities regarding housing. Though I don't know if this advocacy is actually incorporated or blurred-into his official duties. (I suspect that it is, in regard to "research" responsibilities.)

And that I don't like appointments based upon skin color or other immutable characteristics of individuals. The law usually (sometimes?) backs up that point of view, but it often seems like universities (as one example) constantly look for ways around that.

Of course, someone like Newsom just comes right out and states that the selective factor is based upon skin color and gender. I don't know why the EEOC doesn't challenge this type of public statement, but perhaps their actions are only initiated based upon complaints.

For sure, the community removed a school board member largely based upon an undesirable skin color. Those behind that effort literally stated this, though they didn't use the word "undesirable". Again, this isn't an opinion - it's a fact that was confirmed by those who initiated the action.

As far as ethnic studies are concerned, I don't know if this does more harm than good. But yeah, I do believe that most of those who pursue a career in this have some rather extreme views. I'd suggest that students study computer science or engineering, if they actually want to have a job to help pay off their student debt.

Perhaps you can now explain where you think I'm "coming from"?

Roberta L. Millstein

I think you've stated yourself clearly, Ron. I don't think you need me or anyone else as an interpreter.

Alan C. Miller

RO, I'd say read over your first comment again; I understand what RM is reacting to (I believe). I don't think how it comes across is what you meant to imply -- this sort of nuance is a minefield. Recommend a reword, but up to you -- I'm not going to go any further assuming what you 'really' meant.


It's scary to think that UC Davis and colleges everywhere have professors that are tenured and/or assistants that have views like this. Think about much of what our college aged students are being taught in these institutions.

Ron O

Alan M - thanks for the heads up, but I'm reading my first comment again and not seeing anything "wrong" with it.

If anyone has any concerns regarding anything I say, they can always speak up on their own. I have since submitted a couple more comments which haven't appeared so far, as well.

I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I say. Some people might not agree with anything I say, for that matter.

And who knows, maybe I'm even "wrong" regarding some of the things I say. It wouldn't be the first (or last) time.

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