Elite University Sued Over Suspension Of Two Pro-Palestinian Student Groups

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) sued Columbia University over its decision to suspend multiple pro-Palestinian student groups on campus.

Columbia suspended the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapters in November for the fall term. The NYCLU alleges that the school violated “its own policies and procedures” when suspending the organizations, according to the lawsuit.

“Universities should be havens for robust debate, discussion, and learning — not sites of censorship where administrators, donors, and politicians squash political discourse they don’t approve of,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, said in a press release. “These student groups were peacefully speaking out on a critical global conflict, only to have Columbia University ignore their own longstanding, existing rules and abruptly suspend the organizations. That’s retaliatory, it’s targeted, and it flies in the face of the free speech principles that institutes of higher learning should be defending.”

“Columbia University has a robust history of peaceful protest, from 1968 to 1985, that it now champions solely in retrospect and when convenient,” Maryam Alwan, an organizer for the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, said in the press release.

The groups accused the university of holding an “unauthorized event” in November, which “included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” The “unauthorized event” in question was a walkout on Nov. 9, according to the Columbia Spectator.

Multiple student organizations at colleges and universities held pro-Palestinian rallies on campus following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, some of which used violent anti-Israel slogans. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered two state universities to shutdown campus SJP chapters, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued, arguing the organizations were being unfairly punished for statements made by the national organization.

Columbia did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Brandon Poulter on March 12, 2024

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