University leaders face accountability after crackdown on pro-Palestinian camps


Pro-Palestinian activists have started camps on more than 70 campuses to attract attention. Israel’s months-long military offensive on the Gaza Strip and request it from the school Sell From companies that do business with that country. The nationwide movement has sparked clashes with police, with more than 2,300 protesters arrested in the past few weeks, according to a tally by NBC News.

Currently, many students are facing legal and disciplinary action, and universities are Reevaluate your startup planthe school community has expressed frustration with administrators’ management of campus protests.

On Wednesday, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters formed an encampment at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in New York City. The school requested assistance from the New York City Police Department, who arrested 15 protesters.

In a statement to the school community released later that night, Fordham President Tania Tetrow said: Leon Lowenstein characterized the encampment inside the University building and the protests just outside as “different” from events held previously on the university campus, saying, “Hundreds of protesters “I came from a place like that,” he added.

“We draw the line at intrusions into classroom buildings, especially by people who are not members of the community. (There is a difference between free speech and people breaking into a home and screaming),” she said. wrote.

In a letter shared exclusively with NBC News, two Fordham faculty members said:presented an analysis to the Fordham community of what they considered Tetlow’s “inaccurate and misleading statements.”

Assistant Professor Leo Guardado and Associate Professor Carrie Kasten presented a detailed timeline of the events of May 1 to the Fordham Faculty Senate on Friday. They also presented a compilation of photos and videos taken by teachers selected to observe the encampment.

This evidence was used to refute approximately 10 claims Tetlow made in his letter. NBC News has not independently verified either side’s claims.

One of those arguments involves exaggerating the size of indoor encampments. The professors claim, based on eyewitness accounts and video evidence, that about 20 people were at the encampment when Professor Tetlow said “dozens of people were forced into the lobby.”

Mr. Guardado and Mr. Kasten also argued that the language of Mr. Tetlow’s letter suggests that the majority of the individuals who participated in the encampment and protests were not affiliated with Fordham.

“The protesters who were arrested were students and alumni. Many of the people outside were students, faculty, and alumni,” Kasten said. “This is our community.”

Tetlow said the university remains committed to tolerating peaceful protests, but the professors’ letter to the Fordham Faculty Senate states that the encampments are non-violent and that “all participants will remain peaceful throughout the day.” “We continued to protest,” he said.

Dannie Taylor, a professor in the Fordham theater program, said she was disappointed that the university had not lived up to its “unique mission statement,” which includes “promoting justice” and “protecting human rights.”

“We must hold our institutions accountable to our stated values ​​of social responsibility and ethical behavior,” he said.

Fordham University did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

School administrators face backlash

University administrators have faced backlash and criticism over their decision to deploy police to crack down on encampments and protests.

After a pro-Palestinian encampment began on Emory University’s campus last week, police 28 people arrested — 20 of whom were members of the Emory community.

After the incident, the Faculty Senate of Emory College of Arts and Sciences, one of the university’s nine schools, passed a motion of no confidence against President Gregory Fenves, with 75% of members passing it, according to Laura Diamond. He said he voted in favor of it. , Assistant Vice President for University Communications.

On April 25, a pro-Palestinian protest took place at Emory University in Atlanta, and police detained a demonstrator.Ilya Nouberge/AFP-Getty Images

In response to the vote, the university said in a statement: “While we take seriously the concerns expressed by members of our community, a wide range of perspectives are shared.”

On Friday, NYPD arrests 43 people Meanwhile, the New School encampment has been cleared. Later that afternoon, more than 200 faculty members from all five of the university’s colleges convened an emergency meeting.

The meeting, hosted by the New School chapter of the American Association of University Professors, resulted in three votes, including a vote of no confidence in President Donna Shalala and the Board of Trustees. More than 90% of members voted in favor.

A majority of the group also voted in favor of dropping all charges and disciplinary action against the student.

“The outcome of this emergency meeting is merely the first step, initiated by New School workers who are deeply angered and hurt by the administration’s treatment of students,” the organization said in a statement Friday. ” he said. “Provost Donna Shalala’s decision to bring police onto campus in the most vulnerable areas to arrest students who participated in nonviolent protests at a time when faculty support was not available is unacceptable.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Police arrest 57 pro-Palestinian protesters On April 24, more than 600 faculty members at the university signed an open letter expressing no confidence in President Jay Herzl.

“The President has shown himself unresponsive to the pressing concerns of faculty, staff, and students. He has betrayed our trust. It is no longer a safe and welcoming place for our diverse community,” the letter states.

The document was sent to Hartzell on April 29 at the direction of some faculty members. I refused Conducting a class or grade level assignment at the beginning of the week to protest the university’s response to the camps.

Faculty members at Columbia University’s history department condemn the use of police against students, Similar anti-war protests It happened on campus in 1968.

“Since the heavy police presence on this campus in 1968, Columbia University has committed to restoring community, building shared governance, peacefully addressing protests, and maintaining a culture of respectful debate. We must continue to preserve this heritage,” the ministry said in a statement.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators linked arms at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in New York on Wednesday.Alex Kent/Getty Images

Students have also taken action against university authorities in response to the crackdown on pro-Palestinian activities.

At the University of Southern California, the Undergraduate Student Government Association sent a letter to President Carol Folt expressing dismay at the administration’s use of force following the attack by the Los Angeles Police Department. arrested Nearly 100 people participated on April 24th.

“The escalation in police violence on campus is an experience we never imagined, much less one led by a university,” the letter, released April 28, said. There was no such thing.”

Students at the University of Southern California called for no further “acts of retaliation” for participating in a peaceful rally.

“We hope that the university’s disproportionate response to the April 24 demonstrations will never occur again on this campus,” the letter continued. “We expect further improvements from the administration.”

At Columbia University, students submitted complaint Worked with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate discrimination against Palestinian students and their allies.

In addition to efforts by faculty and students to demand accountability from administrators, organizations such as Palestine Legal Affairs have also intervened.

In Florida, a coalition of seven organizations, including the ACLU and the state chapter of the NAACP, delivered a letter to Florida college and university presidents on Friday, calling for “unnecessary use of force by law enforcement and the First Amendment. expressed concern over the violation of the rights of He called the university’s response to peaceful protests “troubling and dangerous.”

Joe Kottke

Joe Kottke is a researcher on the NBC News Network desk.

Source of this program
“This is an amazing expansion!!”
“Pro-Palestinian activists have set up encampments on more than 70 campuses to draw attention to Israel’s months-long military offensive against the Gaza Strip and demand that schools divest from businesses…”
Source: Read more
Source link: