SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California’s governing board on Wednesday confirmed a UCLA junior as its next student representative, despite the objections of a student group concerned about his financial ties to a pro-Israel foundation.
The selection of Avi Oved as student regent-designate marked the second year in a row that Middle East politics has clouded the selection of a student representative to the board.
Last year, some Jewish groups opposed the appointment of UC’s first Muslim student regent-designate, a Pakistani-American who had advocated for a Palestinian state while at UC Berkeley.
Oved was one of three candidates the UC Students Association nominated for the non-voting position that puts him in line to be the student regent with full voting privileges in 2015-16.
The association, however, asked the board to postpone the selection vote after the student newspapers at UCLA and UC Berkeley reported that he and other students running for student government at UCLA last year had received campaign funding from the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.
The foundation, co-founded by Los Angeles real estate investor Adam Milstein, states on its website that its mission “is to strengthen the state of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, and its special ties with the United States of America; and to ensure the Jewish identity along with the special affinity to the state of Israel of the young and future Jewish generations.”
Student candidates at UCLA are not barred from receiving outside campaign funds, but the UC Student Association said it was concerned that the Milstein money would prevent Oved from fairly representing the university’s more than 239,000 students.
UC Berkeley’s student paper, The Daily Californian, published a leaked email from Oved to Milstein in which the student said he and his political allies were “prepared to make sure that UCLA will maintain its allegiance to Israel and the Jewish community.”
Oved said after the vote that he would work on behalf of all students.
Sadia Saifuddin, the UC Berkeley student whose confirmation was criticized by some Jewish groups last year, became student regent for 2014-15 and cast the only vote against Oved.