Statement on conference organized by the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism

Updated Sept. 8, 2023

UC Santa Cruz does not endorse the upcoming conference organized by the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism and no events of the conference are scheduled to take place on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The reference to the “intellectual space of UC Santa Cruz,” and the listing of select individual UC Santa Cruz academic departments and centers purportedly as sponsors, is not, and should not be interpreted as, a university endorsement. At no point in time has UC Santa Cruz endorsed the upcoming conference.

We note that the conference organizers no longer require individuals to confirm their agreement with the Institute’s “points of unity” before registering. The removal of the points of unity condition is a welcome change, and the University did not and does not endorse in any way its use. Affirmation with those points of unity, as a condition to registering, were on the website and may have been operative throughout the conference registration period, and thus have had the effect of framing the conference in this context. A conference that limits participation based on political ideology is antithetical to UC Santa Cruz values as a public university and constitutes potential viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment along with potentially impinging on the academic freedom of prospective attendees.

We are vigorous proponents of free inquiry and the free exchange of ideas, and believe that more speech is the best approach to countering speech we find troubling. Both by policy and in practice, the university rigorously honors the freedom to present the widest range of viewpoints irrespective of agreement on those viewpoints. The presentation of the conference’s goals and approach is provoking disagreement as to whether the goals and approach are antisemitic or not antisemitic. This disagreement, like many other disagreements, should be discussed and debated freely and openly in a scholarly community. Amid a sharp rise in antisemitism in the United States, we urge our campus community to understand the impact of their individual views and the expressions of those views on others in the community.