Naming of Muslim student to University of Calif. board stirs controversy

Lauren Williams's picture

The University of California appointed a Muslim American woman as a student member of its governing board on Wednesday in a move opposed by Jewish groups that objected to her pro-Palestinian activism.

Sadia Saifuddin, a 21-year-old social welfare major at the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, will become the first Muslim student member of the 26-person board of regents for a year-long term starting in 2014.

Jewish groups including the prominent Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly objected to her nomination, citing her involvement in a campaign to divest university funds from companies with business connections to the Israeli military.

They also objected to her sponsoring a student senate resolution that condemned a lecturer at the system's Santa Cruz campus for what the resolution said was Islamophobic rhetoric. The groups said it was Saifuddin who showed an intolerance toward opposing viewpoints.

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