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NSHE regent who made comments about Jewish community loses committee post

Updated June 21, 2024 - 12:30 pm

A member of the Board of Regents who made comments this month that many considered antisemitic has been removed from his position as vice chair of the body’s diversity committee.

At a June 7 meeting of the board, which directs the Nevada System of Higher Education, Regent Donald McMichael said, “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,” according to a video of the meeting posted on X.

“Some Jewish students are frightful to come to campus. Get in line,” he said at another point. “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 been World War II, we had the Holocaust and they were in concentration camps.’ We still have concentration camps here in the United States.”

Days after he made those comments, he lost his seat in the June 11 primary, in which he was fourth out of five candidates for Clark County’s District 4.

McMichael was removed from his committee position by Chair Amy Carvalho and Vice Chair Jeffrey Downs, according to NSHE spokesperson Elizabeth Callahan. The removal was announced in a letter from Carvalho and Downs dated Thursday. “While we realize his comments at the recent quarterly meeting were his own words that represent his experience, they did not reflect or uphold the ideals of inclusion or equity that are integral to the foundation of the charter and charge of the IDEA committee,” they wrote.

Callahan said McMichael remains on other committees. He is still chair of the Security Committee, according to the NSHE website.

Jolie Brislin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Desert Region, previously said that the Anti-Defamation League was “appalled” by McMichael’s comments and called for his removal from the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee.

And Stefanie Tuzman, president and CEO of Jewish Nevada, said in a statement that his remarks were “deeply troubling” and “completely unacceptable.”

In a joint statement, the organizations applauded the decision to remove McMichael from his position. “This action reaffirms the commitment to protecting all students at NSHE institutions and upholding the values of inclusivity and respect,” they said.

McMichael did not respond to requests for comment Friday morning.

Callahan said he will be able to attend two more quarterly meetings of the board before his term expires.

Contact Noble Brigham at nbrigham@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BrighamNoble on X. Review-Journal intern Ella Thompson contributed to this report.

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