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‘Northeastern SJP will not be silenced or intimidated’: SJP responds to suspension from Northeastern University



A pattern of discrimination continues at Northeastern University with two students facing the possibility of expulsion and the university’s Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter already suspended. As if banning Palestine-related activities from campus and denying SJP all use of campus resources weren’t chilling enough, the university is pursuing expulsion-level sanctions for two students—all for participation in a mock eviction action. SJP is troubled to report the only individuals to face our school’s opaque disciplinary process are two young women of color; none of the white or male participants have faced any charges.

Northeastern has attempted to justify this latest attempt to restrict the free speech rights of students by claiming it is a “result of a series of violations and demonstrated disregard for policies and direction provided to Students for Justice in Palestine over an extended period of time,” however it is clear that the university’s draconian decision is part of a thinly veiled policy of silencing student speech critical of Israel.

(Image: NEUSJP Flickr)

(Image: NEUSJP Flickr)

Last May, Northeastern put SJP on administrative probation after members staged a silent walk-out during an event with Israeli soldiers in order to protest ongoing, systematic Israeli human rights abuses in Palestine. The university’s decision was strongly condemned by free speech and civil liberties advocates, including theNational Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Massachusetts branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, who sent a letter to the administration expressing alarm about what they termed the “unfair and/or unequal application of University policies and procedures when it comes to SJP.” Unfortunately, SJP Northeastern is once again being singled out for unfair and unequal treatment by the administration.

Northeastern’s Students for Justice in Palestine is not the only SJP chapter which has been targeted because of its political views. Palestinian and other students as well as professors on campuses across the country who speak out against Israel’s brutal military occupation, colonization of Palestinian lands, and other grave violations of international law endure discrimination, disparate treatment from school administrations, and attempts to silence and marginalize them that often include attacks from local politicians and outside “pro-Israel” groups. The organization Palestine Solidarity Legal Support documented over 100 instances of campus suppression of pro-Palestine speech in 2013 alone. Some of the most egregious examples include Florida Atlantic University student activists being placed on probation and forced to undergo a “re-education” seminar designed by the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League for staging a walkout of a lecture given by an Israeli military officer and students at the University of California at Irvine face criminal charges for interrupting a speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren.

Northeastern SJP will not be silenced or intimidated and will fight the spurious allegations that the Northeastern administration has made against us. We call on all Northeastern students and faculty, and all those who believe in free speech and the universal application of human rights, to stand up and show your support for our struggle. An injustice against one student or student group is an assault on all of our freedoms.

Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine

Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine will work to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and inside Israel.

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28 Responses

  1. seafoid on March 12, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Good on NE SJP. Zionism is scared and has run out of hasbara. Get them in the nuts, SJP.

    • on March 12, 2014, 8:48 pm

      hey seafoid! zionism doesn’t have any nuts. all they got is cowardly lies, corruption, and truth perversion.

  2. amigo on March 12, 2014, 3:41 pm

    So , America show us this “Land of the free and home of the Brave”.

    Or are you a bunch of whimps being controlled by Zionist Money.Get off your asses and claim your nation back from these traitors.

  3. seafoid on March 12, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Background to the BDS vote at NUI Galway last week
    Interesting on the bot tactics wrt Facebook

  4. Kathleen on March 12, 2014, 3:56 pm

    ok just linked this story over at Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews fb pages. You just never know. Hayes has touched on the I/P issue, Joy Reid is bringing it up. Maddow and Chris Matthews still maintain total distance from the issue. Along with Al Sharpton, Ed, Lawrence O’Donnell. Silence

  5. W.Jones on March 12, 2014, 4:03 pm

    I thought Northeastern was one of the most left wing universities on the east coast. Obviously I have been proven extremely incorrect.

    If people and organizations don’t go to bat on this, the suspensions and expulsions could be one of the strongest crackdowns on students’ free speech in the US over people’s human rights in the Holy Land.

    But if they do challenge it in courts, even if they lose, it has the potential to raise awareness of those abuses and authoritarian measures instituting them.

  6. Kathleen on March 12, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Student activist who put together a non violent mock eviction suffer far more serious consequences than violent real life evictions of Palestinians from their homes and tossed out on the streets by the IDF and also know illegal settlers have taken part in these evictions. This is a twisted and perverted reality and so terribly unjust.

    • amigo on March 12, 2014, 4:37 pm

      Yes Kathleen , the same ID effers that mehane considers moral.I have not had a response to the 6 links to videos showing idf brutality.He must be having a bad potato day.

    • on March 12, 2014, 8:51 pm

      far more serious consequences? where are you from mars?
      they don’t face any consequences at all. they’re applauded.

    • SQ Debris on March 13, 2014, 12:31 pm

      Not onlly are the evictions perpetrated with impunity. They are bankrolled by taxes levied on the very students that are being expelled for trying to bring that to light. Very nice.

  7. Blaine Coleman on March 12, 2014, 4:29 pm

    We need some good news now and we have it:

    University of Michigan students have officially launched a divestment campaign in the student government. A good number of students spoke up for that resolution March 11th in the Central Student Government last night.

    The big meeting and vote will happen Tuesday, March 18th, 7:30 pm on the 3rd floor of the Michigan Union, 530 South State Street, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  8. adele on March 12, 2014, 5:19 pm

    As these students are fighting NU’s draconian silencing techniques for trying to highlight the systematic and ongoing evictions faced by Palestinians, the IOF this morning demolished the home of a blind Palestinian man in al-Eizariya, right next to the notorious Ma’ale Adumim Settlement.

    Mock evictions are being punished
    Real evictions are going unpunished

    • just on March 12, 2014, 6:16 pm

      Go SJP of NU! Many thanks for your awesome commitment to justice, and shame on the university and their police.

      btw, adele– I don’t know if you have had a chance to read this from today:

      “It was secretly reported that youth resistance activists in Palestine decided to return to the Palestinian village of Ein Hajla, the residents of which were evicted during the 1967 war. Ein Hajla is mostly Canaanite land owned by the Orthodox Church, on which there are historical houses built from straw, mud and palm trees, giving it an exceptional aesthetic charm.”


      “It was 1.30 am on Friday and immediately I headed towards the place where the Occupation Forces had started attacking the village. There were hundreds of soldiers and they had brought huge bulldozers, dogs and stink-water cannons. The activist Tamer Alatrash and I went to evaluate the number of soldiers and when we saw that there were many we returned and attempted to make a human chain to stop them from storming the village. Tamer Alatrash, Amad Al-Atrash and Imad Abu Shamssih came with me in the first row and the soldiers used sound bombs to generate panic among us, in addition to hitting whoever was near them in a savage manner.”

      It seems to never cease. Many thanks to the good people here @ MW, to Max Blumenthal, to all of the members of SJP @ NU and everywhere.

      • adele on March 12, 2014, 6:39 pm

        Thanks Just for pointing this out, I didn’t read it so I had no idea they were back to defending their village, and of course the IOF there as well doing their evicting and demolishing.

        It is all so frustrating and grossly unfair that govts/ppl behave so inhumanely. I will probably be able to understand the meaning of our existence on this dot in the vast galaxy before I can understand human cruelty.

      • on March 12, 2014, 8:56 pm

        in contrast to the birthright israel movement, i’d like to see a mass movement of american college students going over to palestine in the summer to stage mass protests alongside the palestinians ala rachel corrie.

      • Citizen on March 13, 2014, 5:22 am

        The mass movement of American college students is the one into great debt and no job unless it’s flipping burgers.

  9. lysias on March 12, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Who can address a complaint to the relevant accrediting body about Northeastern’s behavior?

    • Rusty Pipes on March 12, 2014, 6:54 pm

      How will NU’s blatant discrimination against student leaders of color have an impact on how many students of color accept admission to NU in the coming weeks?

      • just on March 12, 2014, 6:57 pm

        More to the point, “how will NU’s blatant discrimination” have an impact on their admission invites to anyone that is an ‘other’?

        They are already engaged in profiling, aren’t they?

      • Rusty Pipes on March 13, 2014, 4:18 pm

        Yes, but NU’s engagement in discrimination, even if it only gets limited national coverage on Democracy Now, could be bad for its brand among prospective liberal students, students of color and their parents. How are the parents going to feel, bragging around the water cooler about the schools their kids have been accepted, when a colleague mentions that they heard something on Democracy Now a few weeks ago about Northeastern being a hostile environment for students of color and free speech?

    • Real Jew on March 12, 2014, 10:52 pm

      A follow up question:

      In all the articles ive read about this incident noone has yet specified what Northeast rule/regulation did the SJP students violate by placing the mock evictions on doors? Anybody know?

      • Naftush on March 13, 2014, 4:38 am

        Reportage elsewhere has it that the students’ notice was patterned to look like an official notice from the university authorities.

      • Citizen on March 13, 2014, 5:26 am

        I don’t know, but whatever rule/regulation alleged to be violated, it sure was not around in the 1960’s–who changed are free speech rights, especially on college campuses of all places?

      • adele on March 13, 2014, 10:58 pm

        Real Jew,
        I think this link will be helpful w/ regards to your question, it is NU SJP’s webpage and it has all the specific information, including the letters from the administration detailing the alleged infractions, and NU SJP’s response.

    • SQ Debris on March 13, 2014, 12:33 pm

      NEU is launching a boycott of free speech. Legislators must be lining up to pass a bill banning this behavior.

  10. pabelmont on March 13, 2014, 9:34 am

    Assuming Northeastern is a private university, “free speech” as a 1st Amendment matter does not pertain to university actions. However, universities are often parties to agreements regarding “academic freedom” and “free speech” often sneaks in under the banner of “academic freedom”. Whether such rules, if any, pertain to students or merely to faculty is another question.

    The chief resource for SJP is to embarrass the university and its officers. And they should be powerfully embarrassed by these actions.

    And certainly, get a list (as Real Jew) says, of the official warnings, demands, rules, rulings, admonitory letters, etc., which Northeastern claims to have promulgated (and a list of those it claims SJP or some of its members have violated). And see if any other students have had DEMOS on other topics which have violated any of these and the violations been ignored.

    Expulsion is serious business. Get the ACLU involved. Get Nancy Murray on the case if she’s not already.

    • Real Jew on March 13, 2014, 7:32 pm

      Pabelmont- “get a list of the official warnings, demands, rules, rulings, admonitory letters, etc……. And see if any other students have had DEMOS on other topics which have violated any of these and the violations been ignored.”

      Absolutely! The seriousness people are treating this matter coupled with the severity of punishment these students are facing you would expect the accusers would’ve pointed out the specific rule that was violated. Also, we’d be able to compare the standards put on other student groups in regards to enforcing such rules. My guess is some bias will definitely be revealed

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