Posted on January 14, 2011

UC Berkeley Chancellor’s E-Mail Linking Tucson Rampage to Issue of Immigration Draws Criticism

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2011


In the e-mail, sent Monday, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau [of UC Berkeley] condemned a “climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated.”

He continued, {snip} “I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons.”


A leader of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties group, also criticized the chancellor’s remarks. “The supposition that political expression created a climate that led Loughner to his choice is an idea that seems to have sprung from whole cloth out of the minds of people who likely were upset beforehand about ‘rhetoric’ and ‘hateful’ speech, including, apparently, Chancellor Birgeneau,” Adam Kissel wrote.

Diane Schrader, on the NewsReal Blog of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, accused Birgeneau of delivering “a nasty political rant even while condemning–you guessed it–nasty political rants!”

Birgeneau also commented in his e-mail on the recent failure in Congress of the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for children of some illegal immigrants. “This same mean-spirited xenophobia played a major role in the defeat of the DREAM Act by legislators in Washington, leaving many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country,” the chancellor wrote.