Northeastern University’s administration recently suspended its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a recognized student group whose mission is to educate about the plight of Palestinians living under more than half a century of Israeli occupation. The administration also initially threatened some members of SJP with expulsion from the university.
As a former executive director of Northeastern University’s (NEU) Hillel Foundation and its university Jewish chaplain, I am especially sensitive to issues involving NEU’s Jewish students, Israel and anti-Semitism.
Not in spite of this, but because of this, I am deeply troubled by Northeastern’s actions. The university contends that its decision was based specifically on SJP not having followed explicit university rules and, more generally, by its acting in ways considered “uncivil” — in particular creating an atmosphere that caused some students, specifically Jewish students, to feel “unsafe.”
In reality, these are justifications that are patently untrue and meant to confuse at best, or, at worst, totally obscure the true motivations for the university’s actions. more