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Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP

Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP

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Published by SJP at UCLA
Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP from SJP at UCLA.
Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP from SJP at UCLA.

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Published by: SJP at UCLA on Mar 15, 2014
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Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP SJP at UCLA is writing this letter to condemn the suspension of Northeastern

University’s Students for Justice in Palestine. We find it reprehensible that a university allegedly dedicated to preserving students’ rights to freedom of expression could shut down a student organization dedicated to social activism and education. There is a very real lack of information regarding life on the ground for Palestinians in occupied Palestine. Students for Justice in Palestine exists to correct this lack by teaching fellow students and others affiliated with the university system about the injustices faced by Palestinians on a daily basis, and encouraging them to take action. Additionally, because of the strong parallels between the Palestinian struggle and the plights of other marginalized communities, SJP’s are often intersectional in their activism, recognizing that, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and that no one person is truly free as long as another is not. Thus silencing SJP is a slight not only to the students directly affiliated within this organization, but to every other campus organization with which SJP has worked and collaborated in the past. Additionally, student activism is an integral part of the university experience. Despite what the increasing corporatization of the university might suggest, the true intention of the university system is not only to prepare students for the working world, but also to encourage them to individuate morally, intellectually, and politically. The purpose of freedom of speech and institutional conventions of academic freedom is not to safeguard only those modes of expression with which everyone agrees, but precisely those, which are unpopular, which go against the grain of political conventionality. We would also like to take the opportunity to remind the readers that disagreeing with someone’s political opinion is not the same as being marginalized--thus, while some students may have taken offense to the eviction demonstration, such an activity is not discriminatory or bigoted by nature. Rather, its purpose, in keeping with the overall goals of all SJP chapters, is to expose the student body to a very ugly reality faced by Palestinians living within the occupied territories. According to the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions, “ 27,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967” [1]. Furthermore, “Since most Palestinians do not have home mail delivery (including in East Jerusalem), demolition orders are distributed in a very haphazard manner. Occasionally a building inspector may knock on the door and hand the order to anyone who answers, including small children. More frequently the order is stuck into the doorframe or even left under a stone near the house. On many occasions Palestinians have complained that they never received the order before the bulldozers arrived, and thus were denied recourse to the courts” [2]. With all due respect, a student’s displeasure does not mitigate the truth of this occurrence. We strongly condemn this administrative action, and encourage you to respect students’ right to free speech and the right to students’ political expression by reinstating Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine. Failure to do so would constitute a blatant denial of students’ right to freedom of expression, and possibly even

suggest that administrative actions are the result of partiality to one ideological position despite the need for administrative conduct to be carried out objectively and neutrally.

Sincerely, SJP at UCLA

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