Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine have been dissolved as a student organization and all of the belonging students banned from leadership roles permanently over a myriad of false accusations. This is an attack on the fundamental rights of free speech and academic freedom and yet another example of the muzzling of pro-Palestine speech on college campuses. What's worse, two SJP members, both women of color, have been targeted for expulsion-level disciplinary proceedings. This is outrageous and we will not allow them to be intimidated and sanctioned for their political views.
- University President
- Northeastern Center for Student Involvement
- Northeastern University General Counsel
I am writing to you as concerned [student/faculty member/alumni/community member] at Northeastern University [or wherever you are from]. It has come to my attention that the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) has issued a suspension of Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and banned its leaders permanently from participation, based on many accusations the organization vigorously denies and has had no opportunity to refute. Additionally, student leaders were interrogated and intimidated by the Northeastern police department while the CSI was investigating the organization. This level of action is unprecedented, particularly considering the minor, administrative nature of the violations with which SJP are accused. I am concerned that this action was taken as a measure to repress student speech that the University finds overly political. This is a serious violation of the basic principles of free speech and academic freedom on campus, which Northeastern purports to honor.
This suspension is also not an isolated incident. It has been demonstrated that SJP has faced a pattern of discrimination and harassment by the Northeastern administration, including being placed on probation last year for their silent walk-out of an event featuring a panel of Israeli soldiers. SJP has been forced to hire police officers for their events “for their own safety”, yet reports to the administration of threats and intimidation faced by SJP activists have gone completely unrecognized. This lays plain the political nature of the current suspension of SJP as an attempt to finally eliminate pro-Palestine speech from campus. This repression cannot be tolerated as it spells disaster for any hope of open discussion on campus and indicates that the University administration will silence any viewpoint with which they do not agree or find publicly palatable.
Therefore, I am asking that the Northeastern administration take the following measures:
1) Reinstate Students for Justice in Palestine as a student organization with all of the appropriate privileges.
2) Reinstate the student leaders of SJP to their elected positions.
3) Ensure that SJP is no longer held to a more stringent standard than other organizations and receives the appropriate support.
4) Take appropriate measures to ensure that all student organizations are able to engage the University community in open discussion, without having their views politically censored.
5) Immediately cease the use of the Northeastern police department to investigate student organizations for exercising their speech rights.
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