A candidate for the student Senate at Stanford University filed a complaint after she was asked how her Jewish faith would inform her decisions.
Molly Horwitz, a junior, filed the complaint with the student elections commissioner shortly after the March 13 endorsement interview with an umbrella group on campus, the Stanford Review student newspaper reported Sunday. The elections will be held Tuesday.
During the interview with the Students of Color Coalition, a member asked Horwitz, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?”
In February, the student Senate passed a divestment resolution calling on Stanford to withdraw investments in companies that assist Israel in the West Bank.
Horwitz, a Paraguay native living in Milwaukee, told the coalition that she disapproved of the Senate vote for divestment, but reiterated her belief in the Senate’s democratic system and her hope for a peaceful Middle East, according to the Review.
Horwitz was among a limited number of candidates interviewed by the coalition, an umbrella for six student organizations.
Her endorsement application made reference to her Judaism, including statements such as “I identify as a proud South American and as a Jew,” and “I felt like I was not enough for the Latino community and further embraced my Jewish identity,” the student newspaper reported.
Horwitz has asked for a public apology from the coalition.
In a meeting with a university official, coalition members gave a different account of the line of questioning, according to the Review.
The incident comes two months after a similar one at UCLA. The four student government members who questioned Rachel Beyda during a confirmation hearing later apologized.
During a February 10 hearing, four student government members at the University of California Los Angeles questioned Beyda’s ability to make unbiased decisions on cases in which the Jewish community had a vested interest while being an active in Jewish organizations on campus.
“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,” wrote Beyda’s roommate Rachel Frenklak in the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper.
Fabienne Roth, Manjot Singh, Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed and Sofia Moreno Haq all raised concerns about confirming Beyda’s appointment to UCLA’s student government judicial board. Roth pointed to an example case from last May and argued that two students who had gone on sponsored trips to Israel should not have been allowed to vote on a resolution that involved targeting Israel with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measures.
UCLA Student Board use Anti-Semitic interrogation at Jewish Candidate Rachel Beyda Youtube Video removed by UCLA pic.twitter.com/wbZrUYoOgo
— Abraham ben Jacob (@coinabs) February 27, 2015
Beyda’s appointment was initially stalled with a 4-4 vote. However, a second vote was taken after a faculty member interjected to explain that Beyda’s Jewish affiliations did not constitute a conflict of interest.
Roth, Singh, Sadeghi-Moyahed and Haq all apologized publicly in the Daily Bruin.
UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block, who is Jewish, issued a memo to the campus in the aftermath of the incident.
“The views of others may make us uncomfortable,” the memo read. “That may be unavoidable. But to assume that every member of a group can’t be impartial or is motivated by hatred is intellectually and morally unacceptable.”
“Religious affiliations and ethnic identity should not and do not disqualify someone from being an effective judge,” the Daily Bruin editorial board wrote on February 12.