American Muslims for Palestine slams Northeastern University for discrimination
By Ray Hanania
Northeastern University in Boston, which reportedly has a history of anti-Arab policies that appear to target students because of their race and politics, has again created another controversy, this time banning a student chapter that supports non-violence and Palestinian rights.
NEU announced that Students for Justice in Palestine, which consists of NEU students who support the end to the illegal military occupation of Palestine and Israel’s racist settlement policies, would be prohibited from conducting student events and activities or displaying banners or promotional material on the campus.
The university has a long history of discriminating against critics of Israel and in particular Palestinian and Arabs of both Christian and Muslim backgrounds. Arab student groups at the university have been denied funding, equal status among the universities activities and have been excluded from many programs.
The American Muslims for Palestine joined a growing chorus of organizations demanding fairness and justice in condemning the NEU ban, and issued the following statement:
The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, is appalled that Northeastern University officials have banned its chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine and are threatening expulsion against two SJP members for participating in constitutionally guaranteed political speech.
Though not an SJP-sponsored action, students were fully within their rights to post mock eviction notices as a way to raise awareness of the Israeli military’s demolition of Palestinian homes and the frequent eviction of Palestinian families from their houses.
AMP considers the university’s response to be inappropriate and disproportionate to the student actions. These measures will have a serious negative impact on academic freedom, freedom of speech, and they unfairly target those who support human rights for Palestinians. Such actions by the university chill free speech and create a hostile environment for Arab and Muslim students and their supporters. Rather than encouraging students to participate in the free and open marketplace of ideas, the administration has decided to sanction well-meaning and engaging students and to silence a particular point of view.
AMP demands that Northeastern University reinstate Students for Justice in Palestine as a student organization, with full rights and benefits, and issue an apology for the police interrogations and intimidation enacted against SJP members. We also demand that the university drop all charges against the two SJP members facing individual sanctions and expulsion. We ask for assurances that SJP will not be held to more stringent standards than other organizations and that it receives appropriate support from university faculty and staff. Finally, we demand that Northeastern University Police cease to investigate student organizations lawfully expressing their free speech rights.
- Email President Joseph Aoun and demand the university respect academic freedom, including the freedom of political speech, drop all charges against students and reinstate Students for Justice in Palestine with full rights and privileges.
- NOTE: You may receive a form letter response from Michael Armini, senior vice president of external affairs. NU’s SJP has a detailed response to the allegations in that form letter.
- Contact other university officials and keep up with developments at NU.
American Muslims for Palestine
10101 S. Roberts Road
Palos Hills, IL 60465
The students at Northeastern University deserve to be protected from racist and political policies by the university’s administration that deny a student’s right to equal rights on campus and freedom of speech.
(Correction. In an earlier version of the story, the university referenced was Northeastern Illinois University. In fact, the university involved in the allegations of discrimination is Northeastern University located in Boston. We regret the error.)