Campus Watch February 8, 2024

A roundup of incidents, good and bad, happening on college campuses.
February 8, 2024

Harvard to Host Speaker Who Called Oct. 7 Massacre “A Normal Struggle 4 Freedom”

Harvard University’s Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs will be hosting a professor who referred to the Oct. 7 massacre as “a normal struggle 4 freedom.”

The speaker, Arab American University Palestine Associate Professor Dr. Dalal Saeb Iriqat, posted on X that the attack “is just a normal struggle 4 #Freedom.” She defended her post on X, “We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages. The Israeli public need to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalation and losses of civilian lives.” Iriqat is scheduled to speak on March 7 as part of a “Middle East Dialogues” seminar series hosted by Harvard Kennedy School of Government Professor Dr. Tarek Masoud.

The Kennedy School said  “The purpose of the series is to provide a venue for debate and discussion, recognizing that different views will be offered and challenged — including views that many at the Kennedy School and beyond may disagree with vehemently and even find repugnant.” 

CUNY Cancels “Globalize the Intifada” Panel at Anti-Racism Conference

The City University of New York (CUNY) has canceled a “Globalize the Intifada” panel that was scheduled to take place at an anti-racism conference on Feb. 16.

The panel had been scheduled during the afternoon of the “Engagement, Equity & Antiracism: Teaching Writing at our HSIs, Then & Now” conference, Campus Reform reported. Lehman College Institute for Literacy Studies Director Jane Kehoe Higgins told Campus Reform that the conference aims “to bring people together, not to cause harm or make students feel unsafe. It is not a podium for protest … There are appropriate venues for them to share their views, but this conference is not one of them.”

The Lehman College Institute for Literacy Studies is co-hosting the conference, along with Hostos Community College Writing Across the Curriculum, New York City Writing Project and Lehman’s Writing Across the Curriculum program. 

Columbia Law Student Senate Rejects Student Group Aimed at Fighting Antisemitism

Columbia Law School’s Student Senate rejected Law Students Against Antisemitism’s (LSAA) request for recognition as a student group on campus.

The Columbia Spectator reported that out of nine student groups to apply for recognition this year, LSAA was the only one to be denied approval. Some students opposed recognition of the LSAA over their decision to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.  LSAA President Marie-Alice Legrand, who is not Jewish, told Jewish Insider (JI) that the student  senate interrogated the club’s board them for more than an hour on if they “want to police our fellow students… other groups got approved within five minutes.” The senate voted 33-16 against recognizing LSAA, Senate President Justin Onwenu told JI, “I am disappointed by the signal that this sends to many in our Jewish community. I am hoping that the club will resubmit and consensus can be reached because combating antisemitism is one of the most pressing issues of our time.” LSAA plans to re-apply.

Cornell Student Assembly Votes Down BDS Resolution

Cornell University’s Student Assembly rebuffed a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel.

The Algemeiner reported that the resolution, which was voted down 16-4, accused the university of holding “portfolio and direct investments in corporations that profit from Israel in corporations that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thereby making Cornell complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

Cornell Hillel said in a statement posted to Instagram, “We thank all the students that organized. … Rather than ‘divestment,’ we are deeply committed to ‘investment’ — investing in a positive campus climate, meaningful opportunities for education, and open dialogue towards a better future on campus and beyond.”

Report: Rutgers Student Gov Gave SJP More Than $20,000

Campus Reform published a report on Jan. 29 documenting how the Rutgers University Student Assembly provided more than $20,000 to the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for events during the current academic school year.

The SJP events that received funding from the Student Assembly included a “Palestinian History and Divestment” panel and two events on “pinkwashing,” the allegation that Israel touts its record on LGTBQ+ rights to distract from its oppression of the Palestinians. The Student Assembly has allocated nearly $4,000 for the SJP chapter to hold “Palestinian History Day, Event and Teach-in” event.

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