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The New Guard

UCLA Stonewalling Approval for Lecture by Counter-Jihad Expert: Contingent on Behavior of Pro-Hamas Radicals

By

Nick Baker

April 30, 2024

UPDATE 4/30/24 at 4:00 PM ET: This article has been updated to include a statement by Robert Spencer.


The University of California – Los Angeles is refusing to approve of an event featuring Robert Spencer, founder and director of Jihad Watch, citing ongoing leftist encampments as the administration’s primary concern. The public institution is allowing the radical students and outside agitators to take control over campus, even allowing the terror-supporters to block Jewish students from stepping foot on campus.

In a meeting with the leaders of UCLA Young Americans for Freedom, Police Sergeant Roland Ruiz said, “I can say from the PD perspective, we can’t approve–we don’t know yet–how long the encampments will go on, and so we wouldn’t yet give our approval.”

He explained that unless the students pack up camp within the next 14 days, the YAF chapter’s permission to host an event is in jeopardy.

In order to fulfill the university’s requirements for event approval, UCLA YAF Chairman Matthew Weinberg submitted an event planning worksheet, a venue reservation, and a contract for signature on behalf of the university.

For more than a week, UCLA Student Organizations, Leadership & Engagement administrators Kenneth Qian, Mike Cohn, and Kristopher Kaupalolo simply ignored Weinberg’s emails and attempts to arrange in-person meetings.

Only after Weinberg sent a warning that he would have to escalate the situation to the chancellor did the administrators agree to meet.

Also during the meeting, Pamela Lewis, an administrator who oversees the UCLA Student Union, said that “there is no timeframe” in which the chapter can expect to receive an update.

“It sounds like we might not know [the approval status] until the very last minute and we won’t be able to promote the event, and that is an infringement of our First Amendment rights,” Weinberg said in response. “The people in the encampments are frankly violating campus policy and nothing is being done about it. People are being physically assaulted, we just want a free speech event, and we’re being told no.”

In addition to the leftist encampment and illegal barrier that has been set up to keep Jewish students out, students vandalized the YAF chapter’s Israeli flag display two nights ago.

Matthew Weinberg, Chairman of UCLA Young Americans for Freedom

In a statement shared with the New Guard, Weinberg said, “The fact that UCLA would prioritize agitators—some who aren’t even students—who are in clear violation of campus policy and have been physically assaulting Jewish students, over students who seek to engage in the free exchange of ideas about the Israel-Hamas war, demonstrates not only cowardice but also a lack of moral clarity. It is absurd beyond comprehension and it must be addressed.”

Robert Spencer, Founder & Director, Jihad Watch

Spencer shared a similar perspective: “UCLA officials are unsure of their ability to provide security because they are unsure that they want to provide security. The encampment is the result of their own inundation of their students with far-left agitprop, and their substitution of propaganda for the tools of critical thought. They have demonized and stigmatized opposition to the far-left perspective for decades, and denied it a fair hearing. Now that the full results of their indoctrination efforts is becoming clear, they risk turning the wrath of the mob they have created against themselves if they allow the opposing perspective to be heard. Hence they are opting to take the easy way out and bow to the mob.”

After being forced to pay a $70,000 settlement to Young America’s Foundation  in 2018, the University of California system ought to be aware of the fact that YAF does not play around when our students’ First Amendment rights are infringed. 

Young America’s Foundation’s team is considering all legal options.

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