Groups Sign a Letter Urging UCI Cut Ties with Syria's Honorary Consul General

Categories: School Daze
Hazem-H-Chehabi-150.jpg
Hazem Chehabi -- Syria's honorary consul general -- sits on UCI Foundation's board of trustees.
Several organizations have signed an open letter addressed to the UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake demanding the immediate removal of a Syrian diplomat from the UCI Foundation's board of trustees. The letter was sent two weeks after the student government voted in favor of legislation calling for Dr. Hazem Chehabi's resignation.

Chehabi is Syria's honorary consul general, a Newport Beach doctor, and a major donor to the university. He has refused to publicly condemn Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whose brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters has left more than 9000 people dead since the uprising in Syria began one year ago. The letter describes him as the "highest-ranking Syrian diplomat still associated with the brutal Assad regime."

Sixteen organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, and the Syrian American Council, signed the letter, which demands "clear and direct actions from UC Irvine distancing itself...from any and all connections with the Assad regime." Unlike the ASUCI legislation, which solely demands the university cut ties with Chehabi, this letter also calls for Chehabi to disassociate himself from the Syrian government.

Ever since students and community members began protesting Chehabi's tenure nearly one year ago, the school has made no indication that it will consider removing him from his position as chairman of the UCI Foundation's board of trustees - the fundraising arm of the university. In an emailed statement released the day after students voted in favor of the legislation, UCI's Drake cited Chehabi as an active and longtime supporter of the university. In 2007, Chehabi donated $1 million dollars to the foundation.

"We understand the feelings of our students, but directing this resolution at Dr. Chehabi is not the answer," Drake stated. "From what we have seen, his volunteer community work as honorary consul is on behalf of the Syrian-American people, not the government. He has worked to keep channels of communication open between those living here and their friends and family there."

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2 comments
Free Syrian
Free Syrian

In 1991 Mr. Hazem Chehabi founded his medical institute with $200 million from his father, General Hikmat Chehabi, Chief-of-Staff of the Syrian Army from 1975 till 1998. General Chehabi was in office when the 1982 Hama massacre was carried out by the Syrian Army, resulting in the murder of at least 40,000 innocent civilians. General Chehabi stole at least $ 1 Billion from the Syrian people. Thus, Dr. Chehabi needs to return all the stolen funds to the free Syrian people and should then ask for forgiveness from those killed by his father. UCI too should return any money it received from Mr. Chehabi as it was money stolen from the Syrian people. UCI should never have such a person on its Board.

Ocnewman
Ocnewman

Hazem Chehabi is the son of Field General Hekmat Chehabi, a well known aid to the Assad regime. He smuggled the fortune he made in Syria as a war lord into the US, and he is trying to show that he is a good citizen by donating here and there him and his children. Any kid in Syria can tell tales about his corruption and his ties to massacres in different part of Syria.UCI is making him God after he donated a million dollar. This money is melted with children and women bloods. Shame on UCI.

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