Condemn University Lecturer for Hate Speech Against Arab and Muslim Students

Target: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

Goal: Condemn Rossman-Benjamin for hateful, derogatory, racist statements made against Arab and Muslim students of University of California, Santa Cruz.

A video has surfaced of a University of California, Santa Cruz, lecturer’s hate speech against UCSC’s Arab and Muslim students, particularly those involved in pro-Palestinian activism.

In the video Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, UCSC’s Hebrew lecturer, is shown making offensive comments about UCSC’s Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine groups at an off-campus event in June 2012. Rossman-Benjamin describes members of the two activist groups as “foreign students who come from countries and cultures where anti-Semitism is how they think about the world.” She claims both groups are affiliated with terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. She makes a point to differentiate Muslim student activists from others on campus, informing the group she is speaking to that, “these are not your ordinary student groups like College Republicans or Young Democrats. These are students who come with a serious agenda, who have ties to terrorist organizations.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s remarks reflect many of the worst slurs leveled against Arab and Muslim students, and reinforce a number of offensive stereotypes. Rossman-Benjamin’s statements represent her opinion of students whom she teaches. Moreover, they represent an ideology she clearly stands by, a philosophy she may even impart to her students. Such thinking should never enter an academic environment, and such damaging, derogatory, false statements should never be directed at students.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s comfort with publically claiming that students on UCSC’s campus have terrorist affiliations shows her lack of concern for the damage she may cause to the lives of Muslim and Arab students and individuals across the United States. Sign the petition below to condemn Rossman-Benjamin for her hateful speech, and demand that she apologize to the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine groups immediately.


Dear Ms. Rossman-Benjamin,

Recently, a video surfaced of a 2012 event in which you made several derogatory comments about Muslim and Arab student activists from University of California, Santa Cruz. In the video, you claim that the student activists from the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine groups have links to major terrorist organizations. You also stated that they carried anti-Semitic beliefs, and have “serious agendas.”

Your offensive speech reflects many of the worst slurs and stereotypes Muslims and Arabs face in the United States today. As an educator, you should be ashamed of your offensive ideology, and the ease with which you promote and support ignorant, negative stereotypes. It is an even bigger shock that you would dare to speak of students from your own university in such a manner. Not only does such behavior suggest to others that narrow-mindedness is acceptable where Muslims are concerned, it also may make UCSC a hostile environment for Muslim and Arab students. Your baseless, inflammatory, and xenophobic allegations threaten the lives of the students you claim to wish to educate. I am writing to condemn you for this disgusting behavior and to demand that you retract and apologize for the statements made in that video.


[Your Name Here]

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