On Monday, February 27 "Soldiers's stories" was scheduled at UC Davis. Sponsored by Campus Chabad and Standwithus, Ran, a Israeli attorney and reservist, and Ranya, a Druze hi-tech worker had been telling their compelling stories to university audiences throughout the country.
What happened at UC Davis however dismayed and disturbed the entire country.
A planned walk out and disruption by university students was pre-empted by the event organizers, who had the talk relocated to a larger room. The students from SJP, MSA and MECHA intent on disrupting relocated as soon as they became aware of the new room. A student, later identified as Medieval Studies major Tirumular (Drew) Narayanan and a chorus of others jeered, mocked and repeatedly interrupted the presentation.
The young Israelis and the organizers of the event never once lost their composure or dignity in the face of the unrelenting hate. The audience repeatedly ignored pleas for respectful dialog. Even the presence of Aggie hosts and University police did nothing to ensure civility.
After the event was shut down, multiple witnesses reported that Tirumular Narayanan apologized for his behavior, and confessed that he was paid to disrupt the talk, and in fact was given a script to read.
In spite of glaring audio and visual evidence to the contrary, a consortium of UC Davis faculty, the vast majority whom did not attend this event, sent an open letter to Provost Hexter and Vice Chancellor Meyer, claiming:
"...the protest that was organized at the SWU event by the Students for Justice in Palestine, with the support of members of Jewish Voices for Peace and MECHA, was
in the form a silent walkout. There was NO planned disruption of the event, nor did
any members of this diverse coalition interrupt the speakers. Following the silent
walkout, the protesters held a small, peaceful discussion outside the building where
they discussed the realities of life under occupation. The students who opposed the
IDF soldiers’ justification for the occupation were careful to remain silent..."
To the faculty that signed this letter:
Miroslava Chavez‐Garcia, Chicano(a) Studies
Marisol de la Cadena, Anthropology
Omnia El Shakry, History
Jaimey Fisher, German
Kathleen Frederickson, English
Elizabeth Freeman, English
Isao Fujimoto (emeritus), Human and Community Development/Asian American
Wendy Ho, Asian American Studies
Robert Irwin, Graduate Group in Cultural Studies
Mark Jerng, English
Suad Joseph, Anthropology
Caren Kaplan, American Studies
Richard Kim, Asian American Studies
Peter Lichtenfels, Department of Theatre and Dance
Sunaina Maira, Asian American Studies
Susette Min, Asian American Studies
Ana Peluffo, Spanish and Portuguese
Noha Radwan, Comparative Literature
Kriss Ravetto, Technocultural Studies
Robyn Rodriguez, Asian American Studies
Parama Roy, English
Sarita See, Asian American Studies
David Simpson, English
Eric Smoodin, American Studies
Kieu‐Linh Valverde, Asian American Studies
Karen Ann Watson‐Gegeo, School of Education
Nolan Zane, Asian American Studies
Would you perhaps care to remove your signature from this letter, having watched this video? Why did you sign a statement implying knowledge of facts you were clearly unaware of?
We have been re-assured that this situation is still under investigation. And we'll keep you informed of any new information we learn.