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Students at Fordham University filed a lawsuit against the school over its refusal to grant club status to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The students argue that the denial is “viewpoint discrimination” in violation of Fordham’s policies regarding free expression. “As a Palestinian on campus, I was denied the opportunity to advocate for freedom for my people,” said Ahmad Awad, a graduating Fordham student. “Instead of encouraging our human rights advocacy, the university sided with those trying to silence our voices.”

On March 8, three anti-BDS bills were fast-tracked out of committee and passed without debate by the New York State Senate. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights oppose the move saying: “These bills are blatantly unconstitutional attacks on First Amendment rights to protest and dissent. They resurrect widely-condemned tactics used to undermine democracy: creating McCarthyite blacklists, punishing dissent, attacking academic freedom, and cracking down on student organizing.”

Fordham University has issued a disciplinary charge against a student trying to start a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group on campus, demanding a closed-door hearing with the dean who denied the group club status. The student, senior Sapphira Lurie, was charged with violating the school’s “Demonstration Policy” for organizing a January 23rd rally protesting Fordham’s decision to ban SJP from the school. Her hearing is scheduled for February 22nd.

Citing concerns that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) would be too “polarizing” for the campus to tolerate, Fordham University denied status to a group of students seeking to establish an SJP club. “My own university told me I can’t share my culture and history like other students because I’m a Palestinian who believes in Palestinian freedom,” said Ahmad Awad, whose family is originally from the West Bank, and who hoped to be president of SJP.