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Letter of Support for Northeastern University SJP

March 14th, 2014

On March 7, members of Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were informed by the school’s Center for Student Involvement that their chapter had been suspended for at least a year for organizing a mock eviction action. 

Take action to support the SJP here!

You can find more information at: http://www.northeasternsjp.org/current-situation.html

Dear Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine,  

As a coalition of more than 400 groups in the United States working for freedom, justice, and equality, we are writing to say we stand in solidarity with you as you fight your university's efforts to suppress your activism for Palestinian rights. 

We are outraged that the Center for Student Involvement would suspend your SJP for doing nothing but bringing attention to Israel's daily violations of international law and human rights abuses. 

In its mission statement, Northeastern claims: "We will assist our students in becoming engaged citizens of the world, confident and resourceful people who realize that their knowledge and action can have positive consequences for their own lives and for the lives of others." Yet by punishing students for  leafleting about Israel’s systematic demolitions of Palestinians homes, the administration is going against its own stated vision about its campus in addition to violating basic principles of free speech and academic freedom. 

Campuses have been at the forefront of social justice struggles throughout history, even when doing so was unpopular. We are inspired to see you continuing this legacy at Northeastern in spite of the growing number of cases of repression of Palestinian rights activism on and off campus as documented by Palestine Solidarity Legal Support. 

We  strongly support your SJP as it takes a stand against the university's repression of free speech, a policy which is wholly incompatible with the open discussion and debate necessary for academic freedom to exist and thrive. Northeastern University's purported commitment to academic freedom is belied by its silencing of voices with which they do not agree with or do not find publicly palatable. We join you in your calls to the administration to:

  • reinstate SJP as a student organization with all of the appropriate privileges; 
  • drop all charges against the two SJP members facing individual sanctions;
  • ensure that SJP is no longer held to a more stringent standard than other organizations and receives the appropriate support; 
  • take appropriate measures to ensure that all student organizations are able to engage the university community in open discussion without having their views politically censored; 
  • immediately cease the use of the Northeastern police department to investigate student organizations for exercising their speech rights. 

The global movement for Palestinian rights continues to grow as more and more people stand up and demand an end to Israeli occupation and apartheid. We applaud your efforts to ensure that your university stands on the right side of history.

Sincerely,

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Endorsed by:

1.   Albany-Corvallis Friends of Middle East Peace (OR)
2.   Al-Nakba Awareness Project (Eugene, OR)
3.   Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (Portland, OR)
4.   Bay Area Women in Black (Oakland, CA)
5.   Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
6.   Brooklyn For Peace
7.   Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition (PA)
8.   Chico Palestine Action Group (CA)
9.   Citizens for Palestinian Self Determination (Lincoln, NB)
10. Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights 
11. Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine
12. Committee for Justice in Palestine at the Ohio State University
13. Committee for Palestinian Rights (Columbia, MD)
14. CU-Divest! (Boulder, CO)
15. Ecumenical Peace Institute (Berkeley, CA)
16. Grassroots International (Jamaica Plain, MA)
17. Jewish Voice for Peace Portland
18. Justice First Foundation, Inc. (West Kingston, RI)
19. LA Jews for Peace
20. Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land (Portland, OR)
21. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (WI)
22. Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
23. Methodist Federation for Social Action (Washington, DC)
24. MidEast: JustPeace (Cedar, MI)
25. Pax Christi Maine
26. Princeton Committee on Palestine
27. Project Peace...Imagining a World without War (Tiffin, OH)
28. Rutgers New Brunswick Students for Justice in Palestine 
29. The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice (Stony Point, NY)
30. The Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society Inc. (Cambridge, MA)
31. Tiffin Area Pax Christi
32. United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force (Culver City, CA)

PDF of letter here.