Our central concern remains the uncontested fact that a student group was subjected to a funding condition that restricted its political viewpoint and restricted who the group could work with. You can read the draconian emails sent to the student group in full here.
We find this unacceptable and would like some guarantee that these actions will not occur again, not just to students who hold pro-Palestinian viewpoints but to students with viewpoints on any other issue.
With that said, although we do appreciate the sentence in GSA cabinet's Nov. 23 statement that it now understands that "all student funding must be allocated by a content-neutral basis,” the remainder of that statement, combined with the several other statements released by GSA leadership over the past several days, end up only raising more questions than they answer.
In its statement, the GSA Cabinet has now admitted that there was never a policy in existence that would allow the GSA to apply viewpoint restrictions when funding student groups. This means that the GSA President was not being truthful when claiming to student groups and to the Daily Bruin that such a policy existed, and it means that the GSA President acted outside of his authority when applying his own funding restrictions to student groups. These transgressions of public trust and authority add to the GSA President’s already documented refusal to provide the public with meeting minutes and policies. The public has a right to access these.
Later in its statement, the GSA Cabinet claimed to have later passed a “conceptual resolution” about neutrality, which it never provided to the Forum for a binding vote. We cannot find any evidence of what a “conceptual resolution” is or how the GSA Cabinet is empowered to pass such a resolution in its constitution or codes. We also question how such a conceptual resolution might have been used to violate the basic First Amendment rights of the student body.
What is most clear from these issues is that another statement will not suffice to resolve this problem.
At the very least, least two things are immediately required: first, an amendment to the GSA constitution that prohibits viewpoint discrimination in funding student groups; and second, a formal statement from the university administration clarifying to both student government and the student affairs staff that advises it, that these violations of the First Amendment are not acceptable. This violation of the law never should have happened and the fact that it was allowed to occur and persist suggests an institutional failure of both the GSA and the administrative staff charged with advising it. We look forward to hearing from the UCLA administration how it plans to address the problem.