Syrian American Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UCI student government demands removal of Assad regime representative from UCI Foundation board 
SAC applauds vote and urges UCI to sever its shameful connection with the Assad dictatorship

(Los Angeles, CA, 3/17/2012) - The Syrian American Council (SAC) applauds the passage of legislation proposed by the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine (ASUCI) Thursday in favor of demanding the removal of Dr. Hazem Chehabi from the UCI Board of Trustees.   Chehabi, the honorary Consul General of the Syrian Consulate in Newport Beach, CA, is the current UCI Foundation chairman. He had previously donated $1 million to the university. Chehabi is currently the highest-ranking Syrian diplomat representing Bashar al-Assad's regime in the US.   SEE: SoCal Syrians call for removal of UC Irvine Foundation trustee, supporter of Assad government - KPCC    A proposal to remove Dr. Chehabi, originally scheduled for a vote at the ASUCI Legislative Council meeting on March 8, was postponed.  The ASUCI had a private  meeting with Dr. Chehabi on Wednesday, March 14, which was criticized by some council members as non-tansparent. The legislation passed Thursday by a 15-0-4 vote.    SEE: UCI Students Vote to Oust Syrian Official from Board of Trustees - OC Weekly     Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, on March 15, 2011, more than 8000 people have been killed by the Assad regime, according to the UN.  Last month, the  UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the Assad regime's crackdown on protesters. Additionally, President Barack Obama asked Assad to step down and condemned the regime's 'disdain for human life and dignity.'    "It is immoral and unacceptable for UCI, a prestigious academic institution to be represented by the Consul General of the Assad government. We demand that UCI cuts all ties with Dr. Chehabi, a representative of a brutal dictatorship that engages in the killing of its own people. It makes us wonder whether UCI Foundation trades the lives of innocent Syrians for Chehabi's $1 million donation," said Rashad Al-Dabbagh, SAC Communications Director.  The Syrian American Council (SAC) was founded in 2005 to mobilize Syrian Americans to strengthen civil society in Syria, to promote friendly relations between the Syrian and American peoples, to engage civic and governmental organizations to advance civil liberties, human dignity and democracy in Syria. The organization has represented Syrian Americans to the U.S. State Department, Congress, and in international meetings and councils.  ###
 

Contact:  SAC Chairman Dr. Mahmoud Khattab, mkhattab@sacouncil.com, 9 1 6-7530899; Communications Director Rashad Al-Dabbagh, rashad@sacouncil.com, 626-375-2537; or SAC President Talal Sunbulli, tsunbulli@sacouncil.com, 708-373-6531.
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