University of California Could Bar Political Speech on Some Web Pages

Israel’s bombing of Gaza is “genocidal,” according to the home page of the critical race and ethnic studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Such a statement would be considered political and would be prohibited, according to a new proposal by the regents of the University of California.

Under the proposal, academic departments would be barred from posting political statements on their home pages. And any political statement issued by a department — in any venue — would need to meet stricter guidelines.

The regents are set to vote as early as Wednesday on the plan, which would apply to the U.C. system’s 10 schools, including Santa Cruz, U.C.L.A. and Berkeley.

Higher education abounds in opinions on current events, from Black Lives Matter to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, and Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, universities have been under pressure to draw tighter boundaries around speech, sometimes in ways that have alarmed supporters of academic freedom.

The state’s progressive politics have generally insulated the University of California from some of the conservative attacks on colleges. But the regents’ proposal, some faculty and students worry, could represent a turnabout, at a moment when the very language used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply contested.

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