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NSHE Regent Donald Sylvantee McMichael (Photo: NSHE)

NSHE Regent Removed From DEI Committee After Controversial Comments About Jewish Students

Regent Donald Sylvantee McMichael has been removed following public outrage to his controversial remarks

By Megan Barth, June 21, 2024 9:18 am

The Globe has learned from a source that Regent Donald Sylvantee McMichael Sr. has been removed from NSHE’s (Nevada System of Higher Education) Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) committee. His Vice Chair position is no longer listed in his profile on the NSHE website.

McMicheal’s controversial comments made during a board meeting about Jewish students sparked public outrage and calls for his resignation.

“We have a small group of people — because they were set upon in World War II — have the notion that they can set themselves up in a higher position than anyone else in the United States…Some Jewish students are frightful to come to campus. Get in line,” McMichael’s said in the recorded audio of the meeting. “There’s others who have been here a lot longer and who have been treated more poorly, and for you to come and say that, ‘Oh my gosh, just remember, it had been World War II, we had the Holocaust and they were in concentration camps. We still have concentration camps here in the United States,” he said, and then remarkably equated Native American Indian reservations to Hitler’s concentration camps.

At that meeting, the Board of Regents narrowly passed (7-6) a policy amendment to define antisemitism in NSHE’s handbook. McMichael’s dissented.

To address the public’s backlash, NSHE said the approved amendment allows the NSHE and its institutions to consult the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, extending equality to individuals who experience discrimination based on shared ancestry or distinct religious identity.

“The amended policy equips NSHE institutions with tools to fight all forms of discrimination, including antisemitism, without taking away from the core values of freedom of speech or academic freedom” the statement read.

McMichael’s lost his reelection bid in the June Primary and has not publicly apologized or addressed the controversy. Attempts to reach McMichael for comment were unsuccessful.

Palestinian protester at UNLV (Photo provided)

In response to Palestinian protests on the UNLV campus, a lawsuit was filed by Attorneys Sigal Chattah and Joey Gilbert naming UNLV President Keith Whitfield, NSHE, UNLV, and various student groups as defendants. The lawsuit’s exhibits highlight four pro-Palestinian student groups that have coordinated campus protests since the October 7, 2023 Hamas attacks against Israel.

Plaintiff Cory Gerwaski, a jewish student at UNLV alleges that the ‘”unchecked spread of antisemitism” has caused him pain and suffering.

The Globe has also learned that the IDEA budgets of NSHE’s members has been requested. The Globe will provide an update to the IDEA program when the budgets are received.

 

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