Professor Raviv on cockroaches, apologies, and punishment

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By Liz Scherffius

CMC Professor Yaron Raviv tells The Peel his version of the March 4th incident.
Full interview transcript

First off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from, how you came to Claremont?
– I am Israeli, I was an Israeli citizen and am still an Israeli citizen. After I finished my PhD at Princeton University I came here. This was nine years ago.

Oh, nine years ago. So it has been a long time then.
– Yeah, I have been around. You know the song? Nice to meet you, hope you guessed my name. That’s how Pitzer probably thinks, right? You know this song?

– Sympathy for the Devil by the Stones.

Yeah the Stones, I should look that up.
– Yeah, so I taught for 20 years. 9 years in Claremont, before that 5 years at Princeton and before that in Israel. I’ve got like thousands of students, okay? Never in my life anyone accuse me of anything. Okay, what other backup information you want?

I have questions.
– Okay, so shoot the questions.

Yeah, okay, if you want to talk as much as you want, as little as you want on all of them that’s fine. So, you were a researcher in the IDF, correct?
– Researcher in the IDF? What do you mean by that?

Was your job capacity in the IDF as a researcher?
– No, I was a soldier.

Oh you were a soldier, then I was mistaken I am sorry. What years were you in the IDF?
– (Laughs) What does this has anything to do with…

It’s just background information for the article, because this is about where you are coming from, your perspective on this. If you don’t want to…
– Everyone in Israel, every citizen in Israel needs to serve in the Israeli army for three years. Any secular male, lets put it that way. So I serve in the Israeli army for three years as well.

Okay, would you like to give the years you were in?
– 86 to 89.

So you were in combat?
– No, what do you mean by combat? You know, I don’t think it’s relevant, like all this information, you know, like, like, I don’t see how this is relevant in any way to this incident.

That’s fine, we can go back to the incident then. That’s okay.
– You want to talk with me about my high school, you know like, I don’t understand how this is relevant.

Maybe I need to make it clear the way I am approaching this article. I mean, I spoke with David Bachman, its second hand information your side of the story…
– So let’s talk about the first information of the incident.

Okay, that’s fine.
– You want to talk about my parents? How they shape my character? Like you know I don’t see how this is important to get the facts. Lets talk about the facts.

Okay, this information so that you know I was asking because David Bachman told me that this evoked an emotional response for you, and I was trying to give background information to paint this in a different light, but if you do not want to talk about it I respect that.
– Yeah, you know, I don’t see… Let’s, let’s move on to the incident itself and then if you think that it is relevant I don’t see…

Yes, if you would like to speak about it. I do think it is relevant.
– Okay.

So that’s open. So, can you describe to me what happened on March 4? What’s your version?
– I was sitting in my office. I had not planned on going to the dining hall, it was not by incident that I got there. A Pitzer student, a Pitzer student call my office at 5:20. And sounds really stressful. He said, “I need your help, can I come and talk with you?” I say “sure,” come on in. He come, he sit, he was downstairs he felt uncomfortable to knock on my door, so he come and I tell him “what’s going on.” He said, “listen, there is some demonstration in the dining hall, they hassle the students and we need your help. When he said we I think he was referring to the Jewish students.

Was this Hillel or J Street?
– No, I think it was more of the Hillel that felt uncomfortable with this event. I said, I told him, “listen, calm down, I will go down and I will check what is going on.” I was in the middle of grading exams by the way you know like so, I went down the, to Collins, and when we walking on the path I see immediately that the student just move apart from me because he was afraid to be seen with me. The Pitzer student that ask for my help did not feel comfortable that the demonstrator were identifying as someone that call someone who support Israel. He felt persecuted just only because he is somebody who is against, who is a Jewish student who support Israel. So he move apart. Now this is my interpretation, but he didn’t feel… so I can describe you what I saw when I was approaching this event. So first off there was a couple of students who hand out fliers and then I see a couple of students crying by the side, and then I see a line of people block the entrance to the dining hall. Okay, so I am getting into the dining hall, and they block my entrance, and they told me “you cannot go until you show us your ID.” I said, “What?” I said, they told me, “Yeah, this is an Israeli checkpoint, you need to show us your ID in order to get in.”

Sorry was this when you were going into the dining hall to speak with dining hall staff?
– Yes, exactly. I told them, have you ever seen an Israeli checkpoint? So one of the students said, “Yeah yeah, we saw an Israeli checkpoint.” I told them “who is your leader, who brought you here,” they told me they don’t have a leader, we come by ourselves, and this is an approved demonstration. I said okay, I am not going to show you anything, just let me in, and they let me in. I went inside the dining hall, I was looking for the dining hall manager and I found her, you know, have you seen the CMC report?

I have.
– Okay, so I told her that they were probably approved for some kind of demonstration, but they cannot block the entrance. This is against the demonstration code. They need to move it just 10 feet aside.

Is this a CMC policy that they needed to move 10 feet aside?
– All 5C, this is also a Pitzer College policy.

Okay, because I was under the understanding, well I guess this is something that has been discussed, that it was blocking movement…
– It’s more than that. It’s a federal offense to ask for someone’s ID with no probable cause. Who gave them the right to do that?

That was in the email that Al Wachtel sent out.
– What kind of behavior is that?

I guess regarding the moving 10 feet aside policy… does it explicitly say move 10 feet aside or…
– No. It says that you cannot interfere with peoples’ passage.

Ok, so was it you that thought that they needed to move 10 feet?
– Ah, yeah, yes. I said that they could not block the entrance. It was not like I told them to go 2 miles away. Do your theater, just don’t block the entrance and don’t hassle the students.

So you thought 10 feet would be…
– It’s enough

So an appropriate…
– Jus enough to not block the entrance, so that people can come freely to the dining hall. If anyone want to interrupt with this demonstrator then that’s fine that’s their decision but don’t force me to participate in your theater.

Yeah totally understandable. So just for my own clarification writing this article, you thought that them moving 10 feet would allow free passage into the dining hall…
– Yes

But 10 feet is not in campus policy…
– No, no, no, no. I just wanted that there be free passage.

So you thought that 10 feet would be enough…
– I didn’t ask them to go away I just ask them to move 10 feet aside.

But campus policy says they cannot block movement, that is explicitly stated.
– Yes.

And it does not say 10 feet within campus policy.
– No. I don’t think that they talk about numbers, I don’t think… we can dig at those passages.

No, I can do that later, that’s fine. So, then what happened?
– So I turn to the dining hall management and I tell her, listen they can demonstrate but they need to move 10 feet aside so that they will not block the entrance. That’s illegal assembly. So she went outside, and at first it look like they complied. They took off the ropes that they put on the side, and they move the people away. But the moment she went inside they immediately block the entrance again.

Ok, so were you inside at this point or were you outside?
– No, I was standing outside. When they block the entrance again, I move back into the dining hall to look for her again. I go inside through the bushes. They took down the ropes so I could go in on the side. And, I could not find her, so then I went to the lady that take the cards, and I was the one that called public safety. I called public safety, I told the dispatcher, listen, you need to send someone here, because the students block the entrance, they cannot do that, someone needs to move them only 10 feet aside. And then I went outside and wait for the public safety officer to arrive. When the public safety officer came I was sitting something like 10 feet to the south of the entrance. You know I think… and then the public officer come, he park his car something like 30/40 feet to the north… I was sitting to the north of the entrance, and he park something like 30/40, 35 feet south to the entrance. It was in front of student house basically. And I walk towards his direction, I see that he’s coming, he’s standing near his car, and I want to explain what’s going on, and I start to move towards his direction. So some move the students, the guy that filed the complaint, is telling me, and rudely and aggressively into my face, “Who are you? Are you a faculty here? Or a visitor? Show me your ID. If you are a visitor you cannot be on campus ground after 5pm.” I told him I will not show you my ID, it is none of your business who I am, I can be a faculty here or a visitor, and I approach the campus safety and the student is in my face. I was not in the demonstration, I was like away.

So he came…
– He came after me! Of course.

Why did he come after you? Did he see you…
– Because he hassled me. That’s why. (Laughs)

When you came into the dining hall, did you encounter this student specifically?
– No but he saw that I am active. In this… I don’t know, you should ask him, why did he come after me? What gave him the rights to ask for my ID and hassle me like that? And I start to speak with the campus safety officer. I say, listen the students can demonstrate but you need to move them 10 feet aside because they cannot block the entrance. And to give some validity to what I am saying I pull up my ID card and say I am faculty member here.

To the campus safety…
– To the campus safety.

So you did not show this to the student.
– But he was in my face basically.

So he saw the ID card?
– Yeah, yes. He understood. You can understand if you think about it. You see someone who go and bring the dining hall manager… you can understand that this is someone that know the community. We will give him the reasonable of the doubt that he didn’t know if I were faculty. It doesn’t matter, I could be a custodian, it doesn’t matter to me. The moment the student understood that I am faculty he said, “Oh you are a faculty here, I will hunt you down.” I said, “You will hunt me down? You’re a fucking little cockroach.” And now the student say, “Oh, now I’ve got you.”

He said, “I got you?”
– Yeah, “now I’ve got you.” I understand that… you know I was worried about using the f-word, not about the cockroaches at this moment.

Sorry, you didn’t think about saying the f-word…
– Yeah, I was worried about the f-word, you know that I used the f-word basically. Not that I told him that he was a “fucking little cockroach.”

So you did not think about cockroach in this moment?
– No, I thought about cockroach as a small, insignificant creature that cannot physically harm me.

Were you worried that Najib would physically harm you?
– When someone come to your face and say, “I will hunt you down”… Yeah. I was not afraid physically because like you know he isn’t my size but I was just afraid. And I immediately disentangle. I went to the Pitzer student who asked for help but I did not want for things to escalate. I went to the student who ask for my help. He was sitting on those like chairs to the north of the entrance. I said, listen, the campus safety will take it from here, and I went back to my office to finish the grading. And, you know like… okay.

Okay, so are you sorry for any of your actions?
– Yes, I am sorry for using the bad language. I choose my words poorly, this is how you should start the article like I shouldn’t curse, not to the students and not to anyone, we should aspire for some higher standards, and I am sorry for using bad language. But, you know like in the heat of the moment, I choose my words poorly. And so I am sorry for that. I do not apologize for the student. I apologize to the community for using the bad language. You know, like I would never apologize for the student.

Why would you not apologize to the student?
– Because there is no equivalence, the damage that he caused me. And we will talk about it in a second, you know like all the offenses that he, like I used the bad language but he, this guy, really do some serious offenses. First he block the entrance, this is a violation of demonstration code. Then, he hassled me. He asked for my id, you cannot do that. After I came back. Why you come after me? Then he threatened me, using an anti-Semitic slur. And then, like while this investigation is going on, he go online, he falsely accuse me with hate speech, falsely accuse me of being racist. People know my identity now. He put my family in harm’s way. I am receiving nasty emails. You want me to show you a couple of emails? Yeah?

Yeah, and we can use these in the article as well if you feel comfortable with it, or not just for my own personal knowledge.
– Let me read you a couple of… ah ok. “I am one of your students. What right do you have to call one of my colleagues a cockroach you filthy Israeli cunt? Please, could I ask you to leave the US and return to the land of zionazis, where you can slaughter innocent cockroaches at whim? See you in class, you racist inbred.” And then I have another email. From a guy that call himself Jew Stew.

Jews too like as in also?
– Now, Jews… J E W S, and then stew, S T E W. “Hitler had the right idea. He was just an underachiever. I thought that you may enjoy that since you seem to be such a huge supporter of genocide. Cheers.” I let the IT know some other nasty emails that I get, and phone calls. So he caused me real damage. By falsely accuse me, that’s just pure slander.

It’s just what? Pure…
– Pure slander. Now when you think about it, you are trying to ask yourself, so basically when he filed the grievance there were two issues that he was concerned about. First that I tried to stop the demonstration that is false because there were people, like the campus safety, I never asked to stop the demonstration, just move it 10 feet aside. And then, he said that I demeaned him as a Palestinian. So, I am not going to go into this debate that you have at Pitzer that Israelis call Palestinians cockroaches, that’s just a lie. It’s not true.

That Israelis call Palestinians cockroaches?
– That’s a lie.

You have never heard that?
– No, never, never. Now the quote that somebody bring from 30 something years ago, this was out of context by a single person. Now you need to know what he was talking about. I am not going to talk about this issue, but the question is, how me or anyone else could know that this guy is Palestinian?

Did you not see that he was wearing the, what is it called…
– The kafia? Did he say that he was wearing a kafia?

He was wearing a kafia.
– You say that because you know that? You know that he was wearing the kafia?

I know that he was. Did you see the kafia?
– He didn’t wear the kafia.

He didn’t wear the kafia?
– No.

That’s in statements that I have seen and in conversations I have had with people that were there.
– Can you send me that statement, because that’s a lie. Along with other stuff. You should know that he is lying all the time. This guy change his version multiple times.

I have honestly read a lot of the statements and I have seen that it has been pretty consistent.
– Pretty consistent? So first they say that they didn’t violate the demonstration code, they didn’t block. Then they admitted that block. Then they say that I try to move them and then they say that I didn’t try to stop it. Then he says that he never say anything that he would hunt me down, then he figure out that there was a witness that hear him say that he will hunt me down. So then he claim…

Was it a witness that was part of SJP or…
– I do not know who was the witness. I do not know who is the witness because that is what I get from the report.

So you were obviously the one that heard “I will hunt you down.”
– Yeah.

Because it was directed to you. So you don’t know who else heard it?
– No, I don’t know.

And it’s not in the campus safety report.
– I don’t know what’s on the campus safety report.

Okay, I read the campus safety report, and that’s not in the campus safety report.
– Okay, not everything was on the campus safety report.

I know, that’s why I wanted to ask. I have been trying to get ahold of the officer who wrote the report, he doesn’t want to talk with me, just for him to be able to say, “Yes, Najib said that he was going to hunt him down.” And that would be verification.
– Can you put on record that he claimed that he had the kafia? That that is the way I should identify him as a Palestinian?

I will see about the article.
– Yeah, because I need to see how anyone could identify him as a Palestinian. His English is better than my English.

Yes, it is very ambiguous honestly.
– So we need to know, like how the average person should identify as a Palestinian. Or maybe they have some aroma or smell that I should identify them.

Some sort of what?
– I’m just kidding.

Some sort of smell or…
– How could I (laughs) I am cynical when I say that. I am asking how can anyone identify him as a Palestinian? Because if he claiming you know like I curse at him just because he is a Palestinian, he need to prove that I or anyone else can identify him as a Palestinian. The probability that you will see an American Jew in this kind of demonstration is much higher than the probability that you see a Palestinian in this demonstration.

It’s much rarer that you would see a Jew than a Palestinian?
– It’s higher, of course. How many Palestinians…

No, there were Jews in the demonstration.
– That’s my point. So if you say that it is much more probable that you will face an American, and no one will claim that I… now if you claiming I call you this curse just because you are a Palestinian, you need to give some kind of evidence that I knew that you were a Palestinian. I claim that no one could know that he is a Palestinian.
Unfortunately as it stands, he is a Palestinian.
– And so what? If he was a gay, then I’m a homophobe? If he was a gay, then I’m a homophobe? Like…

I don’t know. That’s what I am trying to figure out through this interview. I want to give your side of the story, so I appreciate…
– Yeah, so just ask him how anyone could identify him as a Palestinian.

That’s a question to ask. Okay. So I do have questions. You did say that you have been receiving hate mail from students and nationally…
– Yes, let me forward you the emails. I will forward you also the emails that they… what’s your email address? It’s Liz…

It’s Liz Scherffius. I guess I was wondering if you could tell me about the professional and personal consequences that you have experienced in the event’s aftermath.
– Also, I will send you the analysis of the report from the IT people because I am sure that the other side will claim that I invented those emails.

The IT?
– IT people. Yeah, because they analyze to try to find where they come from.

Oh the hate mail. Was that useful? Did they find anything?
– They found it come from the New York area.

Oh. So what have been the professional and personal consequences of this if you would be willing to speak to that.
– Uh, just a second. You know, they slander my name. I have several Arab students. I have like a Palestinian student. I feel uncomfortable, because they falsely accuse me of being racist, which is a total lie. So, my wife is afraid to open the engine of the car. Because you know, you post that there is an Israeli family living here, it’s easy to get my address, and they post that the Israeli is racist and it is a legitimate target to get. You know, like there’s a lot of lunatics around. My wife complain… the Claremont police are aware of this situation. My kids know in their schools if something happen, there’s a chance, then the school district like know about that.

So, did you have to notify the school principal then?
– Yes. They know about that. We know the school principal. And yeah. Campus safety knows about that as well.

To look after you?
– Yeah. They are aware that I have been threatened. You know with those emails.

Has anybody acted out in any way?
– No. But when you read the emails they are nasty. They are threat emails. But I am afraid of the loner, someone that just read those articles online and said ok, I screwed my life because of these type of Israelis and he will do something, he is not going to threaten. They will just do something. So that’s my concern.

That’s a legitimate concern.
– So yeah, if you really want to pursue the truth, why do you have to go to the news, to the media? Why do you have to reveal my name? Why do you have to…

If you really want to pursue the…
– The truth. Because there was some procedure going on. The grievance process is supposed to be confidential. But this guy go online, go post documents from the grievance process, don’t follow the procedure, so…

You know that it was the student that did this?
– That’s the student that complain about me, because there were some official documents from this you know like the remedies and stuff that appear online.

I have spoken with quite a few Jewish students about this who witnessed the SJP street theater on March 4th and they were upset about the group’s portrayal of Israel as an apartheid state. And I was wondering what your thoughts were on that.
– You know, like, I don’t mind they can do whatever they want. But they should not block the entrance. They want to… I don’t have a problem with any of the issues that they raise. Personally, of course, I am not in support the cause. I am a two-state solution person but these people don’t want to debate I think, they just yeah so…

David told me actually that you were in favor of the two-state solution, and to clarify that with you. But he did say, in your defense, that this might have been more of an emotional than an intellectual response.
– Oh, yeah. I told you that I am sorry for the use of language, and I chose the poor language, and poor wording, but, I am not a guy of the other cheek, you know…

What do you mean by that?
– Like when Jesus, when he needed to give the other side… I’m not that guy.

Oh, like you aren’t one to walk away from situations, is that what you mean?
– No, I mean if something wrong happen I try to fix it. I’m not going to be you know like… I know that there will be some kind of faculty who probably have nice language and don’t curse, but they will never respond to someone who ask for help. I didn’t have to respond, even when I went there I could have just turned my face to the other side and admit that I seen nothing. But some people, when they see that something wrong is going on, they like to fix what’s wrong.

So, this is the first time you have cursed at a student?
– Yeah, of course.

So, a few more questions. In an email correspondence you said, “the student block my entrance, then hassle me, then threaten me using an anti-Semitic slur.” It was at this time that the CMC statement released last Friday says that you replied “fucking cockroach.” The campus safety report does not include any indication that the student said an anti-Semitic comment, but rather, that he was “in control of his emotions.” That’s the quote. How do you explain this, or how would you like to portray…
– So the campus safety is incomplete. There are some parts that support my version, there are some parts that support the student version. The human memory is a complex device. I don’t know what the campus safety heard. I don’t know what he remembered what he heard. Okay? And so you should understand, when I talk with the campus safety his main focus is about me, when the student said “I will hunt you down,” maybe to this person it’s not look… but when I use the f-word this immediately draws attention.

It’s immediately whose attention…
– The public safety person, like the student is in my back. So when he said, “hunt you down,” maybe the public safety didn’t hear because his attention was focused on me. And also I told you that I immediately disentangle. And then, with all the SJP…

Disentangle, what do you mean by that?
– That I move, yeah after “now I’ve got you,” I went back to the Pitzer student and said campus safety will take it from here, and I left the scene basically. But the campus safety stayed there and all the SJP students were around him. I don’t know like what he thought was important to remember, I don’t know what he heard, the fact that he didn’t help says nothing. The fact that he didn’t help and didn’t even remember, so… you know this is a very unique expression.

Hunt you down?
– Exactly.

Can you please explain this? Because I have consulted Jewish faculty and Jewish students on if they ever, if “hunt you down” has ever been used in a negative, like anti-Semitic connotation if they have heard of that.
– (Laughs)

And every time… I mean I have honestly been trying to understand.
– You know they tried to hunt down the Jews.

Yeah, but every time they have said no, I have never felt threatened by this. I have never heard this in an anti-Semitic way.
– Not now, but in the 40’s and in the 30’s in Europe, like ah.

Do you think the student intended to reference this?
– Ah no, I don’t know if that was the intention, I do not know. I cannot control his intention. He will explain his intention well. But the fact is that first he declare that he never said that, then he had mean to say that but only after I curse him.

When did he admit that he said that?
– You should read between the lines of the report.

I have read the report several times, and I have been trying to read between the lines and…
– Yeah, so the report don’t say all the things. I will say more things because I was part of this grievance process. And the Pitzer Administration know, you can ask like, he admit that he say that, but he claim that only after I curse at him, which is not correct, because after I curse at him I immediately left.

Okay, yeah, because in the CMC statement that was published on Friday, there were two versions. One was that the student said to you “I will hunt you down,” to which you replied, “fucking cockroach.”
– Yeah, exactly.

The other version is that you said, “fucking cockroach,” and then the student left and spoke with other students, I guess with a group of students, and said “who is he, I am going to hunt him down…”
– Oh, so he said that?

But the student also in this report it says that he does not remember if he used the expression “hunt you down,” or “find him.”
– Yeah.

Or something to that effect. Like you said, the human memory.
– Ok, so, what do you mean?

So, I guess the question is, you claim that he said, “Hunt you down,” and then you replied… that provoked you. So you replied “fucking cockroach.” The other version…
– No, “fucking little cockroach.”

Fucking little cockroach. Okay. The other version, which was also published in the CMC statement and that gained just as much weight as your version was that he did not say this and that he said that to students after you called him “fucking little cockroach.”
– Okay, so how did I hear that?

Ok, so I guess I was just wondering what your opinion… you stand by, I mean obviously, your version…
– I didn’t move an inch. For mine, unlike the other side. I didn’t move an inch from my statement. I told it from the first time that it was from the same light. I spoke with the Dean of Students, and that’s what happened. Now the student changed his version several times. You don’t know that, what you know is like what appears in the papers, but then he put an official statement at the grievance, and then he replied to my reply, so each time he change something of his story.

I wish that these were public…
– So ask the Pitzer…

I have. Can you describe a little bit of this changed stance for me?
– Yeah, so any aspect there was a change of… first they claim that they follow the demonstration code, but then we can say that they demand for IDs, they block the entrance. So then they say that we block, so this is the first thing. Then there was the thing, that the first thing he said was that he never said, “I will hunt you down.” So there was a witness, I said, “I will hunt you down.”

Where is this? Is this in a response to the…
– I presume, I didn’t see the response basically but I presume that this was the process, because he initially claimed, “No, I didn’t say anything.” Then his version was changed that “I might have said it,” but after only, after I…

So the first response was, okay, just to get this straight in my own mind. You…
– He accuse me that I call all Pitzer students cockroaches. Then in the grievance there is something slightly different. Because he understood if like I call every other Pitzer student cockroaches then you know Pitzer students is not a protected class, so…

Right, so just in my own mind, to reiterate. I understand things better when I can like state them out I guess. So first off, Najib said, that you called him “fucking little cockroach.” That was the first one. Then the response back to that, you said…
– No.

To the student that he said that he was going to “hunt you down.” And then Najib responded back, “Yes, I did say that,” or, “No, I did not say that.” I am trying to figure out the sequence.
– I never meet him after the incident. Never.

Why did you all never meet?
– Because that’s the grievance process, that’s how it goes. And frankly I don’t have any desire to meet him. You know, like the guy just violate so many items, and damage me so much, like I don’t have any desire to… there is no comparison between how you know okay, so in the worst case scenario I curse at someone? Comparison to all the violation that this guy made, including you know put… Personally, personally went after me. Try to do as much damage as he can. Why you go online? Why you like if you are really interested in revealing what happened. That is just vindictive behavior. Let me give you a scoop also, like I file a grievance against the students, you should ask Jim Marchant what happened with this grievance.

Yeah, I have been trying to get ahold of these grievances.
– Why, why Pitzer… the question should be, why some of the Pitzer students behave on campus ground, in a way they will never behave outside of campus ground? Why they feel so secure, to violate the demonstration code, to hassle people, to ask for IDs, which is a federal offense, to threat other people and then to slander it and do bias-related behavior by accusing me of being racist. Why? Because they get some kind of support from the administration.

What kind of support do they receive do you think?
– Ask the administration! Why you didn’t even investigate the student when this kind of behavior I file and the administration protect him.

I heard it is not under Pitzer’s purview to investigate the student.
– What? Of course it is. Not the demonstration, the other things. It’s under Pitzer. The harassment, the threat, the slander online, the bias-related behavior that they accuse me of being racist.

This is in your grievance?
– Yeah. And why? You should ask Jim Marchant. Because what kind of message is he sending to the students, that that is the right behavior of the student? It’s confidential, but the response is outrageous of Jim Marchant.

The response is outrageous?
– Yeah.

How so?
– You should ask him.

He won’t talk with me about this.
– Of course, because they get the message from the president.

Could you say in more words or less what the response was?
– No, it’s supposed to be confidential. But ask him for the response, like what was the reason he rejected the… I know some of the faculty asked him that.

Okay, what was the reason why you rejected Professor Raviv’s response to the grievance statement?
– Grievance, not the response. I filed a grievance.

Okay, I will make sure to ask him. So, your friend David Bachman he…
– I have a lot of friends at Pitzer. But I am afraid to expose them, this is like…

No, it was wonderful to speak with David, thank you. He told me that you called Dean Gregory Hess within roughly one hour of the incident…
– I sent an email.

I want to know what you… what your conversation with Dean Hess was about, and also if in the conversation you told him that the student said that he would “hunt you down,” which provoked you to say “fucking cockroach.” Just to get the order straight.
– So, I check my email list, so I email. I do not feel comfortable to call him in the middle of… so I sent him an email at 7:24pm to ask if I can call him. He replied by 8:50 and replied yes, call my number, and then I spoke with him at 8:50 basically. So this was something like almost three hours after the incident when I spoke with him. The first email was 1 hour and 20 minutes after the incident.

Ok, so what was this conversation…
– I just describe him what happen. What I am just telling you.

So you said, the student provoked you, that he said hunt you down…
– I told him the list of the events.

Did you tell him that “hunt you down” is anti-Semitic to you, I guess in this context.
– I don’t remember if I went into that detail. You know like I just describe the event.

What was his response?
– So we need to talk about it in the morning, we need to get like a written statement, you know like…

An official statement from CMC?
– To take my account of the events yeah. And I told him that I like to keep things calmed down, because I am very lenient… you know my wife when she pick me up, she said, “oh, you should file a complaint to the Claremont police, because this guy threatened you.”

Because he threatened you?
– Yeah.

So the Claremont police, Claremont, or the Claremont Colleges?
– My wife, my wife ask me to file a complaint with the Claremont police. I told her that I don’t want that this guy you know like ruin his life by that he will have some record. I’m very lenient. So I didn’t file a complaint against him with the police. That’s also what I told Dean Hess.

Because he threatened you with “hunt you down,” would that have been the complaint?
– Yeah, yeah. Like I told him, “Listen, I would like to keep things down.” Like both sides you know, I don’t mind if there be some mutual apology for bad language, but the other side needs to apologize for their behavior.

For the blocking of the entrance?
– For the blocking of the entrance, for the threatening, for their hassle behavior. Yeah. And that’s also the message that I transfer to the Dean of Students here.

Mary Spellman?
– Mary Spellman. But all of this things turn awful with this guy start posting everything online. And falsely accuse me of being racist. So that’s it basically.

What would the process have been like if he did not post the information online?
– We try to stop things, you know like off record.

To like quiet it down?
– Yeah. To keep things down. That’s also like why I didn’t go online in response to those bias articles. We try to keep… we don’t like to make flames.

Well, I know from several of your friends that you were initially regretful for what happened, immediately following the incident, and that you initially wanted to apologize, and…
– For the language, yeah.

Apologize. I want to know if it’s true that you did apologize, in the CMC statement.
– It says that I’m sorry for the language yeah.

Okay, and at any point did you apologize to the student?
– Never, never.

What are your reasons for this?
– I just described the reasons. There is no relevance.

So for professional and personal reasons.
– Yeah, never for the student. He is not deserving my apology.

And I wanted to know if the CMC administration has in any way influenced your account of the incident, or I guess initially you said apologize for the language used, or whatever. I guess I want to know what CMC’s process has been. How they have worked with you, and how…
– They didn’t work with me, they take my version. And then they are under investigation. They do it professionally and they do diligence, it’s not like they go online every time they post so…

So did they instruct in any way? Like…
– No.

“You should get a lawyer,” or anything like that?
– No.

Or “keep it down, don’t talk.”
– No, no. Like I was free to talk. I could go on record. I consult with the Anti-Defamation League about it, and my version should be on record at some point, but it is not clear when is the best time to issue my version of my side of the story. And I know that I could have issued it earlier but I prefer to wait for the CMC outcome to, and then to go out. Also, I am a team player. I have been here for many, many years, I have been around for almost nine years, and I am going to be for many more years around and I told you that I am a team player, and I know that CMC want to keep things down so I want to keep my mouth shut. Like nobody asked me, nobody forced me. You know I could have gone on public but I choose not to do that.

I know that Dean Gregory Hess was the officer that invited you to come to CMC.
– That’s not true, that’s false.

No, then who invited you?
– Dean Bill Ascher.

Okay, so that’s false then in articles that have been published on this. So he was not. But he did coauthor a paper with you…
– Yeah, I had the privilege to coauthor a paper with him yeah.

It was “Where Have all the Heroes Gone?” Correct?
– Exactly.

And he was also one of the leaders of the investigation.
– No, he was not.

He was not?
– No, Mary Spellman is the lead investigator on this issue.

But he was involved in the investigation.
– No, not in the investigation. There is a very specific… you can go to the Dean of Faculty website, you can get the grievance process of the faculty, and the grievance process at CMC is like the… this is the same, the grievance policy procedure. The grievance process is actually (hands packet to me).

I actually have this already.
– By the structure, the dean of faculty, when there is an informal grievance procedure is the one they try to negotiate basically. He was not involved in the investigation. Mary Spellman was… the Dean of Students at CMC is responsible for, is the college investigator, that is the title.

Ok, so why was Dean Hess present at the consultation on Thursday with the student and his advisor?
– Because that’s part of the grievance process. He’s the figure that need to try to negotiate something.

Do you believe it was a conflict of interest for him to be involved in the…
– No.

In the room with the student?
– No, why?

Because you coauthored a paper with him.
– So what? You know like, this is a small college. Dean Hess, not me, but Dean Hess hired more than half of the faculty here. Okay? In the tenure time… this is a small college, everybody knows everybody. So if you think that the dean cannot be objective… so you think the CMC procedure is totally schooled, so we need some other procedure to deal with grievances? Because like always you know when there is some grievance with the dean of faculty you know running this process, he knows the faculty, there are some…

Yeah, there’s overlap. So is there nobody else that could have gone into this investigation?
– Let me give you a scoop, you know like there was some accusation that Dean Hess maybe not be objective, you know my initial reply to that was that I don’t see what is so special about this grievance. Because in any other grievance the dean knows the faculty. So maybe… so the Pitzer people said that we may want to go to an outside mediator. I told them, I don’t see a reason to go to an outside mediator because I do not see any flaws with our process. There’s nothing unique with this grievance. However, I will agree to go to an outside mediator if you agree to go to an outside mediator as well to deal with my grievance. They didn’t agree to that. “No, we have a process at Pitzer.” So why don’t you trust the process at CMC?

So was Dean Hess present at meetings with Najib?
– Yeah, yeah.

He was.
– Yeah, that’s right. I think, I’m not sure. Like if I’m to guess, I think yeah.

Because I guess he was on Thursday and was asked to leave by Najib due to the conflict of interest.
– Ok, I was not there, I do not know.

So you do not believe that was a conflict of interest?
– No. Like why would it be a conflict of interest?

Conflict of interest because your academic reputations are tied due to the paper that you published together, that you coauthored. That is one of the arguments and is something that has been brought up.
– Yeah, like I don’t think there’s any. Dean Hess don’t need my paper, his reputation is very solid, he is very well respected internationally. You know like he don’t need my paper for his reputation. He is a very impressive person.

So you say very impressive person. So obviously if you coauthor a paper you know them and such, that’s where the conflict of interest idea is coming from.
– Yes but I know, I know everybody here. I know a lot of people here. And if Dean Hess is called for professor x he knows him as well.

Did you speak with Dean Hess about this potential conflict of interest?
– No.

Did he ever mention something…
– No.

To this effect. So okay. On to the next. Do you believe that cockroach how you used it could be considered a racial term?
– No. Like I don’t know, you ask me if I use it as a racial expression?

In the way that you used it.
– Why? Like how exactly how it’s racial. I don’t…

Because you said “fucking little cockroach” to a Palestinian.
– Yeah, and if I was to say “fucking little grasshopper” would that be better? Or “fucking little mice,” or “fucking little ant” or…

I’m asking you.
– I’m asking you back! You know a rhetorical question.

I told you that I’m writing this article, and I can’t have a stance on it.
– There are many reasons why I pick this kind of animal. It’s a small animal that cannot physically harm me.

Ok, so in your mind it’s not racial?
– No, and if I call him a “little piece of shit” would that be better? I don’t know any curse that sounds good, to tell you the truth. That’s the nature of curse. It’s supposed to make the other side feel, not good I guess. So again, it’s a poor word I choose, I choose poorly the words, and I wish I wouldn’t curse but with that particular curse I don’t see anything.

Yeah, it’s because… well I’m sure that you have heard this as well in the investigation that the fact that you said cockroach to a Palestinian is being conflated, or who knows if it is being conflated or not, that’s why I am asking you.
– It has nothing… the word cockroach has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nothing.

So you have never heard that in Israel then?
– No. So I told you in the beginning of our conversation that they find some sort of 1 quote, somebody says more than 30 years ago, and the quote is not how Palestinians are cockroaches, the quote was like what will happen when the Israeli settlement with the Palestinian guard, what will happen with… they will be lining around like, I don’t remember exactly like…

Like cockroaches.
– Yeah, so this was the statement that was made more than 30 years ago by a single individual. So you try to think this is how Israelis talk, those days or ever?

I don’t, I am asking.
– It’s a complete lie. So that’s a complete lie.

So cockroach as a dehumanizing term then. You said it because it’s dehumanizing and because it is a small insignificant creature.
– No, because it is a small creature, I didn’t try to dehumanize or whatever.
It’s what came out.

So you said that your comment to the student was not racist, and you are not racist.
– How can I be racist if I do not know the race of the student? How could be racist?

And that’s what the statement says as well.
– How can it be racist if I (laughs) don’t know the race of the student? Nobody knows the race of the student. He was identified as a white male, like I didn’t know. He didn’t have any accent, he didn’t have anything on his clothing that was…

Because you claimed he was not wearing the kafia.
– No I didn’t claim. I wanted to put that on record that… lets see if he was… take it and see for record. Lets see what he’s saying.

Okay, since none of this was racist then… you said that you were not racist due to the fact that you rented your home to…
– I am not racist because I am just not racist.

Okay, also…
– None of the people there like… I don’t need to defend myself from nothing. You know, lets put it that way.

But you said that you rented your home when you were on sabbatical to…
– Who told you that? It’s true, yeah.

It’s a confidential… I mean it’s a source that didn’t want to be named.
– Yeah, it’s true.

To a “traditional Muslim family,” and I was wondering if you could go into more detail on that.
– Yeah, this was a guy with his family at CGU that rent my house for a year while I was on sabbatical in Israel. And this was a traditional Muslim family from one of the Arab countries. The guy was with the white jubba, you know like… not all the Pitzer professor would rent their house, you know like even if they speak highly about morals and blah blah blah.

You trusted them to live in your home and…
– Yeah, why not?

Yeah, okay.
– It’s not that I didn’t have other options. I prefer this kind of family over others. Like considering, we had 3 or 4 options. And this is the family that we pick.

You had three or four options to rent…
– Yeah, for renting my house. It’s not like I was desperate, you know it’s a really nice house.

Yeah, homes in Claremont are very nice.
– So you know I had other options and I preferred this family. They have two kids, you know like ah.

Yeah, that sounds like a solid option to me honestly. Ok so, I’m sorry a lot of these questions you have answered already so I don’t want to waste your time. Do you believe that a professor, calling a student, or cursing at a student, calling them a “fucking little cockroach” is not harassment and can be considered…
– Things need to be in context.

Is not harassment considering, this is the context, considering that the power dynamics at play not only between a professor and a student but also taking into account that you are Israeli and the student was Palestinian.
– I didn’t know, I just told you that.

Yeah, I know, I mean now that you do know and now that it’s not March 4… I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
– I told you, I regret it was a poor choice of words. There’s no doubt about it. We should aspire not to curse, but other than that there’s nothing there. It was not harassment because the curse was just a response that provoke by a direct threat. And if the student did not follow me and into my face like nobody would curse at him, like there was something that led to this curse. It did not come out of the blue. Unless you are claiming that either I am stupid or crazy.

You claim that now?
– No, I am saying like what kind of reasonable person, like I don’t need to prove that I am not crazy and not stupid, you know like I think my actions prove that by themselves. Like what kind of person would curse at someone out of the blue? Anyone, forget about professors.

Yeah, I have heard your side. So, I guess…
– Does it look reasonable?

This is all keeping in mind the incident but apart from March 4, thinking about professor student relations, do you believe that this interaction, this response on the part of the professor is capitalizing on a power dynamic?
– I don’t understand the question.

So the power dynamic between a professor and a student… professors are older, they are professionals, etc… there’s a power difference. So what are your thoughts on a professor being provoked by a student and…
– You know, the students are adults by themselves. I don’t think they…

The students are what? I’m sorry.
– Adults. Adults by law, they are adults so I don’t see any problem. I don’t understand exactly the question.

Yeah, I think that you answered it. That you don’t see any problem.
– No, I shouldn’t curse. That’s clear that’s like… you asked me at the beginning of this. I shouldn’t curse. You need to put some things in context. No, it did not come just out of the blue. So I think you know that like more than a curse, when you count what other, what lead to this curse, here we talk about some hot air that come out of your mouth.

Hot air coming out of your mouth?
– And there was some kind of serious things that lead to that. Like some violation of the demonstration code. Harassment, you know like asking for peoples’ id. Threatening me. Why he follow me and to my face and rudely and aggressively ask for my id, when I wait out of this demonstration.

Do you believe now in retrospect or whatever that the fact that you are an Israeli professor and he’s a Palestinian student that there are differences in power? Because that is something that has been discussed.
– No, I think that the only bias-related behavior was by the student. Because when I curse at the student I didn’t know that he’s a Palestinian. But when he personally run after me and posts those lies about racism and… this is bias-related behavior. So you need to ask yourself, would any of this happen if I were just an Irish American? Would they accuse me of being racist? If I was an Irish American? No. They only accuse me of being racist because I am an Israeli. The only bias-related incident…

Yeah, I think an Israeli professor and a Palestinian… I mean there’s a history also.
– You don’t understand what I’m telling you. I’m telling you that if I was an Irish American all this grievance and all this accusation would never happen because he would not claim because I am an Irish American I curse him because he is Palestinian. I’m claiming that he was the one that did the bias-related behavior. Because he accuse me of being racist only because I’m an Israeli Jew. If I was an Irish American he would never accuse me of being racist, right? You understand why this is the bias-related behavior or not?

I mean, I think that…
– You think that if I was an American, just an Italian American, an Irish American…

Probably not, because he is Palestinian…
– Exactly.

And you are Israeli.
– Exactly, exactly.

So what I was saying was that there’s a history there…
– No, but I didn’t know, I didn’t know that he was a Palestinian. And when he accuse me of being a racist, this is the bias-related behavior.

Was he bound to confidentiality, out of curiosity, when he posted these things online?
– He was supposed to but he posted all these things online and he violated the procedures basically.

Okay. I was wondering what you consider to be verbal harassment?
– Depends on the context. You know, like, do you want me to give you a list of words, or a list of situations, or …

Whatever comes to mind.
– Yeah, like, I don’t know. Like, it depends on the scenario.

So in this scenario was it verbal harassment?
– There was a verbal harassment of me, by the student, that was the harassment.

Was it verbal harassment of you to the student as well?
– I curse at him! You know like so I don’t know like…

So is that verbal harassment?
– No, that’s not appropriate behavior. You know, like, I shouldn’t curse, it’s not professional.

Would you consider that harassment?
– No, no, no.

It’s not verbal harassment?
– No, because I was threatened, and I was just provoked, and that was my reply. If I was not provoked I would not reply to that.

So the student committed verbal harassment by saying he would hunt you down?
– Of course, he threatened me. That’s not verbal harassment, that’s a threat.

Okay, and then you replied back “fucking little cockroach,” which you do not believe to be verbal harassment.
– Yeah.

Okay, just to make this clear. Perfect. We could go into the questions that I wanted to ask you in the beginning that… Okay. You can say as much or as little, you don’t have to respond to them.
– Okay. If I think there is some relevance I can…

It’s just to add to the article and to add more to the emotional response, but I understand why you wouldn’t. So you said that you were a soldier, you gave me the years… do you believe in full and equal rights for Palestinians?
– What? In equal rights?

For Palestinians.
– Yeah, sure, why not.

So you believe in the two state solution and in full and equal rights for Palestinians.
– What do you mean by Palestinian? Like Arab Israelis?

Yeah, like anyone that considers themselves to be Palestinian.
– Whenever they have their state they can have their rights.

They can have their state and they can have their rights?
– Yeah, like their own state. Like I don’t see a problem with that.

If they are in their own state then they…
– Yeah, but we got Arab Israelis that… 20% of the population in Israel are Arabs basically, so they have equal rights.

So Palestinians within their own territories you also respect that they can have their own rights?
– Yeah, of course.

Okay, and I wanted to know if you’ve seen the documentary “Five Broken Cameras”?
– No.

You haven’t?
– No.

Well there was a screening of the film at Pitzer, and one of the questions that was raised was if the IDF shoots at nonviolent protesters and if IDF soldiers, I mean, war is… I can’t imagine, but if IDF soldiers believe this to be ethical…
– To shoot at nonviolent? Of course not. That’s considered an illegal… even if a commander tell you to shoot somebody that is, you know, this is considered an illegal command. You should, you must, you must refuse to fulfill this command. The Israeli army is the most humane, and the most ethical army around the world. Okay? And you cannot get protection by if you do something bad to someone, to shoot someone. And you cannot ever protect because you get the command. But from your commander it isn’t, this is considered an illegal command and you must refuse it.

You must refuse it?
– Yeah, that’s according to the…

Well at least that’s an option. It’s according to what?
– According to the army law. That’s considered as a list of commands that are illegal. And you must refuse even if your commander is getting crazy and giving you a command you should refuse it. If you consider it illegal.

Okay. In this film it features IDF soldiers shooting at nonviolent protesters. Based on your experiences…
– I don’t know what you’ve seen in this picture. You know, so like I cannot comment on this picture so… based on what?

It shows IDF soldiers shooting at nonviolent protestors, I guess. And I wanted to know if you’ve ever seen this possibly.
– No.

You have not. Okay. So it’s against the law, and it was featured in this film
– Yeah, I don’t know what this is about. So we talk about some hypothetical. You saw some movie, I didn’t see this movie so…

It’s a documentary.
– Yeah.

It’s an interesting documentary to watch. It’s featuring a Palestinian whose… there are settlements coming onto his lands, and it’s a farming community, he has a camera…
– And I guess it’s broken, and he had five different cameras. That’s why it’s called Five Broken Cameras?

Yeah, sadly. It’s really hard for him to get new cameras. But in the documentary…
– You know what the Palestinians… I mean I would be the first one to admit that that they have bad life. But part of this is their leadership responsibility.

The little ship?
– The leadership.

Oh, leadership.
– Yeah, of the Palestinians, so you know like, I feel sorry for the average Palestinian Joe.

Average Palestinian Jew?
– Joe, Joe, you know like, I don’t know…

Average Joe, yeah.
– Like Average Mohammed, I don’t know like what is the term for the average Joe.

Yeah, here it’s Joe.
– I feel sorry for them. You know like some of them have really good life. Some of them are miserable. I agree. And I hope that there will be some solution to this problem.

Well back to the documentary I guess…
– I have never seen this documentary.

I know, but I am explaining it to you. The Palestinian has a camera, well he has five cameras ultimately, but shows footage of IDF soldiers shooting at women and children and community members that are holding up signs saying that they do not want Israeli settlements on their lands. Is this illegal?
– It depends, you know, if there is different ammunition that when you talk about riots there is a different and not little ammunition…

– Ammunition that you don’t shoot like regular bullets.

Oh it’s different?
– It’s different, like plastic bullets. Those can be little if its very close or… they are supposed to be like non-little ammunition.

Not little…
– Yeah, so like gas tear or tear gas or plastic bullets that hurt but there’s also like more creative kind of weapons that… to use on riots. Like they can toss some really nasty chemicals, like water that smell really bad for 3 days. Like bad smell that… and things like that. But if it is what you describe if someone shoot an unarmed person just stand on… and shoot them out of the blue, that’s illegal. That’s bad.

Somebody was killed in the film, by a bullet.
– Oh really?

Okay, so I guess they broke the law.
– Yeah, so okay, there will be some kind of investigation, like when people do…

You think so? Is that common?
– So there was like cases where people sit in jail for like yeah… if they break the law. Even down below.

Who reports that?
– Who report? So there will be some kind of human rights organization that will investigate, and if they find something true then the people will sit in jail.

So it would be a Palestinian, hypothetically…
– No it can be other persons, like soldiers, other soldiers, that can report these events or be some other civilian report the event. But the army (1:12) will investigate and people sit in prison. You know, for violate the law.

That makes sense. Do you have anything else that you would like to discuss or go over?
– No, like I would like to see what you write before you send it to get my approval so just email me to see that we are on the right page.

I will give you the quotes.
– Other than that I think we are fine. I think also you should ask the Pitzer Administration why the students feel they can behave in that way. And why some of the Jewish students feel uncomfortable of being Jews. I mean you got this symbol from Judy, I don’t know his name.

From who?
– Judy, I don’t know her last name, but one of the Jewish students put her Star of David, hide it, because she’s afraid to be seen as Jew.

Oh, I would love to speak with her. What’s her name?
– Why don’t you talk with David about this thing? I don’t know about those people who… her name is Judy and she sent an email to the Pitzer community I think.

– No, Judy, Judy something, she’s a math professor I think.

Oh she’s a math professor? Interesting.
– One of the students come to her who is a Jew, and said that she is afraid to walk around with the Star of David, so she took it off because of the Pitzer culture… like because of the atmosphere, like culture of terror basically.

Culture of terror?
– Yeah.

What is that?
– It means that if you are a Jew that supports Israel, you cannot announce that in public basically. There is like a culture of fear, they call it fear. It’s a culture of fear.

Because I know that a lot of Jewish parents have been calling Laura Trombley…
– Okay, that’s good. Yeah, because people should know.

Should know that their children do not feel uncomfortable on campus?
– Yeah.

Have you heard like specific…
– Yeah, I have. I have heard specifics and I told them to the administration also.

You did also?
– Yeah, because you know I had to ask myself why the student was so upset that they cry… so it was a long day for them. And at Pitzer, this is what I heard, the students block the entrance to the classrooms, and when a couple of Jewish students come, the demonstrators say, “Fuck off Jews.”

At Pitzer?
– Yeah. And the students call the administration, and complain about that, and the administration reply, what do you want? They have the right to demonstrate.

After they said that they told them to “Fuck off Jews.”
– Yes, yes. Now, this was the version of the students. I spoke with Jim Marchant and I mentioned this event like four weeks ago, and he told me “I never heard about it.” Now he heard about it. He heard about it four weeks ago. You can ask him what he done with this information? Has he tried to solve this atmosphere at Pitzer? Ask him, because I told him that somebody told me this story. I am not the person that he try to investigate, like what’s going on or… and if you can talk with this lady, Judy about the Star of David and the… it’s spreading on that there’s an anti-Semitic atmosphere at Pitzer. So, you know I can follow your email I think. If I will find it. Just a second.

Have you heard any examples of this apart from the SJP street theater?
– An example of what?

Of anti-Semitic remarks made at Pitzer.
– Yeah, so David knows. He will be the first one to admit that there’s an anti-Semitic atmosphere at Pitzer. That’s what he told me in person, you can ask him for that, you know like talk with him.

He told me that you have a lot of Pitzer students in your classes also.
– Not a lot, but I have three now. And this also makes me feel uncomfortable because they are reading the newspaper.

– So this is some of the email. The email list went berzerk, and they talk about cockroaches at Pitzer and so on. But I am trying to find this one particular email.

Is it the faculty list serve? Because I don’t get faculty emails. I am only on the student list serve.
– Ok, so just a second.

Yeah, if you could forward on this to me, forward on other info, that would be extremely helpful.
– Just a second. Let me read you this email: “Whatever may have happened at CMC maybe people believe the version that is being widely circulated, and maybe students, not just Palestinians, feel disrespected and targeted as a result. Okay, this is before they knew anything about the truth basically. That’s a fact. Also, there have been verbal attacks on Jewish students, both on the Student Talk and face to face and anti-Semitic graffiti and I do not mean criticism of the policies of Israel but attacks on Jews as Jews.”

You said graffiti before, that there was graffiti?
– Yeah, but she said that this was not only about the graffiti, that this was a personal attack on Jews as Jews.

That the graffiti was? Or that there was a verbal…
– No, no. There’s a verbal attack.

So there are two separate.
– One student who was religious stopped wearing the Star of David out of fear. There are facts… these are facts also. Okay, and then I made a little speech in class and… okay so.

Who sent this email?
– Judy, I don’t know her last name. It’s Judy something.

I could ask David and see.
– Ah, Judy Grabiner.

Oh, Judy Grabiner, okay.
– Why don’t you talk with her about her email?

I will. There was a Community Forum at Pitzer last week…
– So I will not send you this email. You can talk with her about her email.

Okay, well send what you want on to me. Yeah, so what was the email that you
you sent me earlier? The threats?
– Those were the nasty emails that I get. With the other encrypted version that the help desk, that the IT people, what they found about it. Because I sent it because I’m sure some of those other people would say yeah, those are not real emails, so…

So you have the encrypted version as well as the…
– Yeah, they were encrypted by our help desk. So you have the emails that I sent to the help desk and the reply. A copy of that…

I guess I have one more question. How would you like to see the issue resolved?
– I think that the student should be expelled, unless he apologizes for his behavior. And then a suspension of a year is a reasonable outcome.

And then a suspension of what?
– Of one year. The student. I don’t know how does it at Pitzer, but I am on the Academic Standards Committee at CMC and for plagiarism experiences of students getting suspended, so this kind of behavior that’s outrageous. The student needs to be expelled. At any other institution that would be the outcome.

So if he is not expelled then you think a one-year suspension?
– Not if not. I think it would be reasonable only to give him a one-year suspension if he go publicly and apologize for his behavior.

Okay, and if he does not apologize then he would be expelled.
– Yes, unless you like that kind of students.

And what about for you? How would you like the issue to be resolved?
– It’s all for me. Unless I have the damage they put online that will take some time to resolve, if ever. But, I apologize for the bad language. And that’s it.

David mentioned that you might, I don’t know if you would be able to answer this now, but that you might want to move elsewhere or take up another position possibly or go somewhere where your family feels safer.
– No. Oh, like go… I like Claremont, no I’m not.

You’re staying here?
– Yeah.

Yeah, okay. Perfect. Anything else?
– No.

One thought

  1. I’m impresseed by your professionalism, the courtesy you showed the interviewee and your ability to track the conversation and stay on task. This was not an easy interview, and you handled it beautifully, like a pro.

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