The University of Southern California must take action against student Diversity Senator Yasmeen Mashayekh’s incitement and hate speech.
We would expect university personalities specifically tasked with strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), to actively stand against Jew-hatred and bigotry.
We would also expect university leaders to unequivocally condemn vile incitement and threats against Jews.
What we would not expect is for a DEI senator to post inflammatory and intimidating tweets against Jews — and get away with it.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening at the University of Southern California.
Over the course of the year, Yasmeen Mashayekh, a 21-year-old Palestinian civil engineering student in USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, has posted on social media statements that go way beyond protected free speech or USC’s values. Here are a few examples of the Viterbi Graduate Student Association’s “diversity, equity and inclusion senator” in her own words:
• “I want to kill every motherf***ing Zionist”
• “Death to Israel and its b**tch the U.S.”
• “If you are not for the complete destruction of Israel and the occupation forces then you’re anti-Palestinian.”
• “Zionists are going to f***ing pay”
• “yel3an el yahood” [curse the Jews]
• “LONG LIVE THE INTIFADA”
• “I f***ing love [H]amas”
Mashayekh’s posts were exposed in November by Canary Mission, which documents the activities of people and organizations promoting hatred against Israel and Jews. Since then, 60 USC faculty members sent a series of letters to President Carol Felt, Provost Charles Zukoski and board of trustees chair Rick Caruso, calling on the administration to rebuke Mashayekh.
“The silence of our leadership on this matter is alienating, hurtful, and depressing. It amounts to tacit acceptance of a toxic atmosphere of hatred and hostility,” the December 1 letter insisted.
Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported that Jewish students have told some of the faculty members they are frightened by Mashayekh’s tweets.
However, the Viterbi School maintains that Mashayekh is not employed by USC and “is a member of a graduate student group that is self-organized, elects its own council members, and does not set the university’s policies.”
Moreover, Folt and Zukoski responded to the faculty letter by saying that while they were disturbed by Mashayekh’s posts, it would be a violation of state law “to remove anyone from a student-elected position based on protected speech.”
Translation: “We can’t do anything about it.”
Expressing on social media a desire to kill every “motherf***ing (fill in the blank: white, black, male, female, Christian, undergrad, etc.) would lead to a police investigation, perhaps a campus lockdown as well. But in this case, the threat is aimed at Jewish and Zionist students.
Diversity at USC is apparently about including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds — except for Jews. Equity is about a level playing field for all minorities — except for Jews. Inclusivity is about making sure everyone feels a sense of belonging — except for Jews.
Someone who threatens, frightens and marginalizes any segment of the student body must not have any involvement in DEI initiatives.
Demand USC remove Yasmeen Mashayekh from her position as DEI senator.
Email USC President Carol Folt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email USC Provost Charles Zukoski: email@example.com
Email the Viterbi Engineering School’s Dean Yannis C. Yortsos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email the USC Board of Trustees: email@example.com