PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – A Jewish student running in Stanford University’s student government election has filed a complaint with university officials claiming that while she was being interviewed for possible endorsement from the Students of Color Coalition, an interviewer asked her a question about her Judaism.
Molly Horwitz, a junior running for a seat on Stanford’s student Senate, was selected to be one of the few candidates to interview for the group’s endorsement.
But in an op ed piece this week for The Stanford Daily, Horwitz claims the SOCC asked here during her interview on March 13, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?”
Horwitz said she was stunned by the question and when asking for clarification, the interviewer said she had talked about her Jewish identity on her application and wondered how it would affect her decision on divestment.
She said she responded honestly, telling the Students of Color Coalition, which is composed of the leadership from six umbrella organizations on campus representing students of color, that she was upset the Senate had voted for divestment, but that she was proud of the democratic nature of the vote.
After the interview, Horwitz contacted Sajjan Sri-Kumar, the Elections Commissioner. The Stanford Review reports, Sri-Kumar forwarded the complaint to Nanci Howe, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities and Leadership. Sally Dickinson, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs was also informed of the situation. When asked what course of action she wanted them to take, Horwitz said she would like a public apology, but also for officials to look into what she called “discriminatory practices” by the SOCC. She also contacted the Anti-Defamation League about her concerns.
In response to The Stanford Review article and investigation, the Students of Color Coalition wrote their own op ed response to Horwitz’s claims.
The organization called the allegations “baseless and false and they do not reflect what actually transpired in the endorsement process and mischaracterize the aims of a SOCC endorsement.”
“We incorporated a carefully-worded, standard question on divestment during the interview process. While all six member groups of SOCC endorsed the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine initiative, we recognized that a wide spectrum of views exist concerning the issue. Therefore, we decided to ask candidates: If they had been elected Senators this year, how would they have handled the issue of divestment? At no point was the question framed in the context of religious identification,” the organization wrote.
Horwitz and her campaign manager and friend Miriam Pollock have since started a support group page on Facebook.