Antisemitism On Display At UCLA

The other day, Ryan – in his fantastic piece on the bigotry of BDS – mentioned the discriminatory act to which Jewish student Rachel Beyda was subjected.

Last week, I attended a council meeting to support my roommate, sorority sister and best friend, Rachel Beyda, as she went through the last step of being confirmed by the council as an appointed justice to the Judicial Board of the Undergraduate Students Association Council. I greatly admire Rachel’s academic success and the passion and determination she has demonstrated toward her goal of becoming a lawyer. I have seen her accrue immense leadership skills and experience in the legal field, both at UCLA, as the current law clerk for the Judicial Board and beyond. Therefore, as I ascended the stairs to Kerckhoff 417, I incorrectly assumed the confirmation of Rachel’s appointment would be quick and simple.

Rachel had been unanimously approved by the Appointments Review Committee consisting of three council members before she flawlessly introduced herself to the council. However, the first question directed at her by General Representative 3 Fabienne Roth was an attack on Rachel’s ability to be a justice based on her involvement in the Jewish community. At President Avinoam Baral’s insistence, the question was phrased slightly more considerately by Transfer Student Representative Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, but this first question set the tone. Rachel finished the interview, making two important points: first, anyone qualified for the position would be a critical thinker who is knowledgeable about campus issues and therefore, has his or her own opinions and second, she has no significant political affiliations.

Furthermore, she demonstrated an understanding of what actually having a conflict of interest means and acknowledged that a justice should remove herself from the decision-making process under those circumstances. Rachel was asked to leave the room for council discussion. What followed was a disgusting 40 minutes of what can only be described as unequivocal anti-Semitism during which some of our council members resorted to some of the oldest accusations against Jews, including divided loyalties and dishonesty.

StandWithUs has some video from the UCLA student meeting in question. And seeing it makes the blood boil more than just reading about it.

Since the 1950s, suicide rates among college students have almost doubled; in 2012, that was actually the most common way for kids that age to die according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Now a newly released study from the Higher Research Institute of UCLA claims that incoming freshmen are more depressed than they’ve been in 30 years. Only 3.1 percent of American adults are clinically depressed while 9.5 percent of freshman say they feel like they are. Why aren’t the kids all right?

Why Carrots Taste Sweeter In Winter

UCLA’s Liz Roth-Johnson explains why carrots have more sugar when it’s cold outside.

Because plants are immobile, they must develop defense techniques against predators and the severe cold in winter. For example, carrots have developed the physiological response of increasing their sugar content when it’s cold outside. This helps stop ice crystal formations and prevents damage to the carrot’s cells.

Frost can do a lot of damage to a plant cell. It can squeeze and rupture the cells until they are completely demolished. But in some cases, the plant’s defense mechanism means a tastier vegetable for us to eat. When a carrot defends itself from frost, we get the benefit of enjoying sweeter carrots all winter long.  


Peng Peng Lee’s return to gymnastics is all I’ve ever wanted and more

On the Evaluation of Rachel Beyda, Candidate for Judicial Board Justice

Given that you’re a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community […] how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view in your position?

– Fabienne Roth, Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) General Representative

Aside from the things you do have listed in your application and your resume, I was just wondering do you see yourself as having any certain specific political affiliations that might in anyway constitute that sort of conflict of interest?

– Morris Sarafian, Director of the Bruin Lobby Corps, UCSA Legislative Director

So my issue is, I’m going to be up front about it, I think she’s clearly great, she’s smart, she knows her stuff, she’s probably going to be a really great lawyer, but I’m not going to pretend and sit here that this isn’t about certain conflict of interest cases, when it think it is every time. I look at these appointments and I feel like we should be working on a way to make sure that we make things better at USAC, and leave a legacy that is not constantly being more divisive towards things, and like I just think this is a super political move, and that really bugs me, and that’s how I see it. I can’t separate that, I’m sorry. It’s not her fault, she’s [inaudible], but she’s got a community that’s very invested in USAC and in very specific outcomes that Judicial boards make decisions on every year, and I can’t separate those two from being, like, not together, and even though she is talented, even though she would be the right person for the job, i just don’t see it as a feasible thing to appoint someone who might take sides, that would, like, be mixed.

– Fabienne Roth

For some reason, I’m not 100% comfortable. I don’t know why. I’ll go through her application again — I’ve been going through it constantly, but I can see that she’s qualified for sure… but I just worry about her political affiliations obviously.

– Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, USAC Transfer Student Representative

The issue isn’t that she’s Jewish, [inaudible], obviously that’s terrible, I would never deny someone something because they’re Jewish or because of antisemitism, but with this specific case, and these are cases we see every year, and this appointment is going to go for years, and I understand the significance of this [Judicial] Board position. I don’t want it to become like, “oh this is because she’s Jewish and you’re antisemitic!” that’s not what it is, at all. 

– Fabienne Roth

The only thing for me is that this particular position, [inaudible] contentiousness around it, is just because of the fact that you are supposed to vote with [inaudible]. I think that, exactly, it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s Jewish, it’s just the fact that you have to somehow maintain a neutral stance. And naturally when you describe yourself as neutral [inaudible], especially if you don’t question this ever, [inaudible] I dunno.

– Manjot Singh, USAC General Representative

This is supposed to be an unbiased position making decisions on keeping us accountable, and us in check, and we are not good at keeping in check because clearly we keep being brought up for [Justice] Board cases for conflicts of interest, and I’d like to know that the people who are keeping the future councilors in check are gonna make sure we try and steer, get right bound, on the correct path of making [inaudible] try and leave a legacy that’s actually about trying to make UCLA better, and move away from constant state puppets. I can’t say that in a delicate way, I can’t.

– Fabienne Roth

[The Judicial] Board uses the USAC definition of conflict of interest, and in the bylaws, it has literally “divided loyalty” or “the appearance of divided loyalty.” Apparently there is an appearance of divided loyalty, people feel that a conflict of interest has been constituted. And I feel like also the fact that she kept giving vague answers when a simple legal analysis [inaudible] kinda shows me that maybe she hasn’t done the right homework. I feel like an “invested interest” [Beyda’s description] is not what USAC bylaw is. I would have just liked if she, I feel like it would have been much better if when asked these conflict of interest questions she gave us the definition that’s the honest truth, I’m not implying that she’s lying, I’m not implying anything i’m just saying she could have given a better answer to the conflict of interest questions.

– Morris Sarafian

The above quotes are all taken from a meeting of the UCLA USAC which occurred on 2/10/15. A full recording of the proceedings may be viewed here, with additional commentary from Ha’Am, UCLA’s Jewish news magazine.

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Make the best pie ever using science

One of the staples of the holiday season is pie and while you may have Grandma’s recipe for the perfect crust, do you really know what goes on at a molecular level? UCLA biophysicist Amy Rowat shares some of the scientific aspects of apple pie and explains how you can apply these insights in the kitchen.

  1. Think of butter as a gas.
    Butter is really just a bunch of teeny tiny water droplets dispersed in a matrix of fat. In the oven, these water droplets convert from liquid to gas. This means that the chunks of butter you can see in your dough are really just big pockets of air waiting to happen. More air = flakier crust! While butters with the highest butterfat content are generally synonymous with the highest quality butter, when it comes to baking pie a slightly lower fat content, and higher water content, may be a good thing.
  2. There is an art to cutting your fruit for a pie filling.
    The way you cut your fruit is important. Smaller pieces of fruit will cook more quickly, but they also tend to lose more liquid since they have a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio. The geometry of your fruit pieces is also important for packing the filling into your pie. After placing your fruit slices into the center of the pie, pat them down to make sure they all like flat. This will create a pie with a lovely cross-section of layered fruits and, more importantly, will help to avoid air pockets that can expand in the oven.
  3. Sometimes the best pie is a day-old pie.
    Temperature is important for pie texture. Eating your pie the day after you bake it allows plenty of time for the pie to cool down and the filling to “set”. Because molecules flow more quickly past each other at higher temperatures, hot pie filling straight from the oven will be more runny; as the pie filling cools, starchy molecules like cornstarch and flour spend more time interacting with each other. As the pie cools, the pectin molecules of your fruit also spend more time interacting with each other. This results in a more solid, gel-like filling that will take longer to seep out of the pie when it is cut and served on a plate.
  4. Different types of flour create different types of pie crust.
    What flour is the best flour for pie crust? This is a contentious question that has a variety of answers depending on personal preference, but the type of flour you use can have a major effect on the final texture of your crust. The protein content of flour, based on the type of wheat the flour was made from, will affect the extent of gluten formation in your dough. While springy networks of gluten proteins are great for chewy breads (bread flour has particularly high protein content), they can make pie crust dense and tough. Flours with lower protein content, such as pastry flour or cake flour, will create less extensive gluten networks and can produce a more tender crust. However, the pie crust ultimately needs to be formed into a dough, which can make it a challenge to work with a fragile dough that can result when using a low-protein content flour.

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My high school transcripts. I failed miserably through high school. I’m not embarrassed by it because it signifies the adversity I went through. My parents weren’t around, no one cared if I did well. But I’m now in my last year at UCLA, I’ve worked in a breast cancer research lab in the med school, I have two scientific co-authored publications… I’ve been supporting myself since 17 working a bunch of different jobs and had to take out private loans for school. I also had to share a room with a 4 year old for two years, and I used to bus to work and community college, but it was all worth it.

After getting tired of my shitty life, I decided to become remarkable instead.
Grades will never define you, failure is necessary to know success. Take all your negatives and fuel it into a positive future. Moving forward is all you can do.

Hope this inspires someone. It’s all a mental game.


Girls of color face harsher school discipline than white peers

Girls of color are disproportionately impacted by school discipline policies and excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline, according to a new report authored by UCLA School of Law professors Kimberlé Crenshaw and Jyoti Nanda, along with UCLA Law alumna Priscilla Ocen, a professor at Loyola Law School.

Here’s one powerful example, based on data from schools in Boston and New York City, and published in the report, "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected": researchers found that suspension rates for black girls when compared to white girls were even higher than those of black boys versus white boys. While black boys are suspended three times more than white boys — a pretty shocking disparity — black girls are suspended a staggering six times more than white girls.

The researchers conclude that the way race, gender, and class issues work to push black girls out of school is tragically under-explored in conversations about racial educational disparities, which tend to focus disproportionately on the experiences of black boys.

"The particular disparities facing Black girls are largely unrecognized in the mainstream discourse about punitive policies in public education," the report’s authors wrote. "Consequently, efforts to confront the challenge of ensuring equitable and fair opportunities for Black girls in school remain underdeveloped."

Read the full Black Girls Matter: Pushed out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected report (which includes proposals  interventions and policies to combat the challenges facing girls of color)here.

via Vox

by Kerry Picket

Posters depicting summary executions by the Palestinian terror organization Hamas appeared early Sunday around the UCLA campus, including kiosks, fraternity and sorority rows, Royce Hall and the Bruin Bear.

UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student-led pro-Palestinian organization that is attempting to get the university regents to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, were upset with the images.

“They rely on Islamophobic and anti-Arab tropes to paint Palestinians as terrorists and to misrepresent Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic,” SJP wrote in a statement. “As organizers, we are concerned that these acts are an attempt to delegitimize and slander the work that we have done to pass divestment on our campus.”

“Furthermore, defacing school property and intimidating a specific group of students creates a deeply harmful environment that prevents student learning and community-building,” the statement continued. “Coupled with the recent uprise in Islamophobia on a national scale, we are concerned for the safety of our fellow students and student organizers.”

SJP says that UCLA administrators “have confirmed that they are responding to the issue and will be providing updates soon.”

Images depicting captives of the terror group Hamas were posted all over the UCLA campus early Sunday.

The images show a prisoner with a bag over his heads and shrouded executioners at his side, and a body that was dragged through the streets of Gaza.

Those responsible for the posters told The Daily Caller anonymously that all of the victims depicted in the small posters were accused of supporting Israel. The source referenced stories of those who were tortured and killed by Hamas after aiding Israel.

Seen at UCLA. Posters that basically say @SJPatUCLA = #Hamas. What do you think?

— Jared Sichel (@TheSichel) February 23, 2015

SJP seems to be suffering from a serious case of They-can-dish-it-out-but-they-can’t-take-it.

Claudia Boleyn is a half-Indian, half-English musician, YouTuber, and feminist. Besides reviewing TV shows and working on some amazing music, Claudia discusses issues such as feminism, mental illness, and bi-erasure (among other things) on both her YouTube channel and her tumblr. Currently, Claudia is working on her first album, and was kind enough to answer a few questions from FEM.