Universities will act against pro-Palestinian activists

American universities have issued a wave of suspensions in recent weeks in response to serious disruptions on their campuses by pro-Palestinian activists.

Vanderbilt University expelled three students, suspended another and placed 22 others on disciplinary probation on April 5 after they forced their way into a room and engaged in a 21-hour occupation of the building. Police had arrested and charged some students, according to the Vanderbilt Divest Coalition.

The same day, 20 students from Pomona and the Claremont Colleges group were arrested, suspended or banned from Pomona College after entering the president’s office and occupying it for two hours.

On April 3, six students, including a Palestinian and two Jewish students, were suspended by Columbia University following a March 24 protest attended by Masar Badil (the Alternative Palestinian Movement for the Revolutionary Path) and the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Network, both accused of having links to the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Although it appears that some universities may finally be taking a stand against student radicalism, campus disruptions and administration harassment, pro-Palestinian activists are undeterred.

Pro-Palestinian groups at Vanderbilt have staged protests, most recently last Monday with a walkout.

In addition to demands to reinstate a student referendum on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) canceled by the administration, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) demanded last Sunday on Instagram “that Vanderbilt stop repress the students. Drop the expulsions, drop the suspensions, drop the charges.

Pomona Divest Apartheid threatened to occupy more buildings on campus Monday through Thursday in response to the suspensions, mocking in an Instagram post: “Hey (Pomona College President) Gabi Starr, which building is next?” All activities at this college are subject to suspension! You have one day.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The threat came after hundreds of students demonstrated Thursday to demand that the university not only reverse the suspensions, but also adopt the BDS policy and call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine and Columbia University Apartheid Divest continued to promote BDS resolutions and a letter campaign to revoke disciplinary measures.

Can extremism on campus be stopped?

Many previous efforts to counter extremism on campus by banning pro-Palestinian groups have also failed.

Columbia SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace had already been suspended in March, but that did not stop them from helping to organize a demonstration on April 4, even after the administration warned: “This demonstration is not not permitted – organizers and participants will be subject to disciplinary action if they continue.

“Let’s be clear: this campus is ours!” said a protester with a loudspeaker in a video posted by SJP. The demonstrators chanted: “There is only one solution: the Intifada, the revolution. »

The Rutgers University SJP had been reinstated in January after a suspension, and on April 4, pro-Palestinian students clearly felt no fear when they disrupted, hijacked, and forced Rutgers University President, Jonathan Holloway, and Jewish students flee a student town hall.

“We don’t want two states, we want 1948!” There is only one solution, the Intifada revolution! Intifada, Intifada! Long live the Intifada! Let’s globalize the Intifada! Settlers, settlers, go home, Palestine is ours alone! This is unacceptable, Jerusalem is our capital. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” sang the anti-Israeli students.

Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine was banned from the university, but the organization continued to plan rallies on campus. He is looking to be re-let.

“Whether recognized or not, SJP Brandeis will continue to advocate for the freedom of the innocent people of occupied Palestine,” the now-called Dies SJP said in a “comeback statement” in February.

At MIT, the suspended Coalition Against Apartheid continues to press for reinstatement, as does Students for Justice in Palestine at George Washington University.

Although there is a trend toward disciplining radicals at U.S. universities, as in the previous round of suspensions of extremist groups, it may take more forceful measures to have an effect.

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