Jewish Student Nominated for UC Governing Board

The nomination of Abraham (Avi) Oved comes at a time of high tension on campus due to student differences over the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

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The University of California, Los Angeles.
The University of California, Los Angeles.Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Jewish economics student at the University of California, Los Angeles has been nominated as one of two student representatives on the regents board of the entire University of California network.

If his nomination is approved, Abraham (Avi) Oved will join a Muslim woman in representing the 230,000 students in the 10-campus system, the Los Angeles Times reported.

His selection by a special committee was announced on Thursday and he is expected to be confirmed by the full board of regents in July.

Oved has served as vice-president of the campus undergraduate student government and been active at the UCLA Jewish Student Union and Hillel.

His selection comes at a time when differences over the Israel-Palestinian conflict have led to tension on the UCLA campus, as well as other campuses in the network.

UCLA's undergraduate Judicial Board ruled last week that sponsored trips to Israel for student leaders do not constitute a conflict of interest when it comes to their electoral activities on campus.

University officials said Oved was the strongest candidate and was not chosen in an effort to balance religious representation on the board,

His student colleague on the board will be Sadia Saifuddin, a UC Berkeley student government leader, who was installed last year. Some Jewish organizations opposed her selection because Saifuddin, the first Muslim student regent, previously had advocated for divesting university funds from companies that do business with Israel’s military.

“I think it’s an absolutely beautiful statement for UC to have a Jewish student and a Muslim student work together regardless of religious or political or cultural differences, in order to improve higher education,” said Oved, whose parents emigrated from Israel.

Oved has opposed divestment and has proposed that UC invest in companies that promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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