Jewish UC regent-designate calls conflict of interest allegations attack on his pro-Israel stance

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A Jewish student nominated to serve as a regent for the statewide University of California system did not appear at an emergency meeting to discuss allegations of conflict of interest against  him.

The University of California Student Association held an emergency meeting via teleconference on July 1 to look into the allegations against Avi Oved, a UCLA student and the student regent-designate nominee for the larger University of California system.

Amal Ali, a former president of Students for Justice in Palestine at U.C. Riverside, had alleged at UCSA board meeting on June 28 that Oved failed to disclose a UCLA student government campaign donation from pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein, The Daily Californian, U.C. Berkeley’s student newspaper, reported.


Milstein denies making a donation during the 2013 election from his Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, pointing to the foundation’s 2012-13 tax return.

Oved released a statement before the teleconference, which was open to all students, in which he called the allegations “hurtful and deeply unfair” and alleged “an attack against me as a pro-Israel student.” He questioned why he is being criticized for “failing to provide information not required” by the UCLA student government’s election code, adding that “no similar demand has been made of any other candidate.

The campus election code does not require disclosure of campaign funding sources.

“As a proud pro­Israel advocate, I have never wavered on my political beliefs on respective issues nor diluted my stances to appease those who had differing opinions. I would hope everyone would respect me and my point of view just as I respect and welcome those that differ from my own,” Oved wrote.

The board decided not to make any decisions until it hears from more students and directly from Oved, according to the Daily Bruin.

The student association’s Systemwide Affairs Committee agreed to meet in a closed session on July 3 to further discuss the allegations.

The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to vote to confirm Oved’s nomination during its July meeting at UC San Francisco.

As a regent, Oved would join current student regent Sadia Saifuddin, the first Muslim student representative on the University of California’s Board of Regents, which governs the public university system. Saifuddin’s appointment also met with controversy for her support for divestment from companies that do business with Israel in the West Bank.