Northeastern U. Duel Over Pro-Palestinian Group Mirrors Nationwide Fight

Was Administration Right To Punish Dorm 'Eviction' Notices?

Angry Voices: Students demand Northeastern University reinstate a pro-Palestinian student group that was suspended for slipping mock eviction notices under classmates’ dorm room doors.
Angry Voices: Students demand Northeastern University reinstate a pro-Palestinian student group that was suspended for slipping mock eviction notices under classmates’ dorm room doors.

By Cara Hogan

Published March 19, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 4 of 4)

University spokeswoman Renata Nyul denied this. SJP’s suspension was due to the group’s repeated violations of university rules, she said.

“The issue here is not one of free speech or the exchange of disparate ideas,” Nyul said. “Instead, it is about holding every member of our community to the same standards, and addressing SJP’S non-compliance with longstanding policies to which all student organizations at Northeastern are required to adhere.”

Dorm distribution of fake eviction notices has become something of a staple in the playbook of pro-Palestinian groups around the country. But NEU is the first campus to penalize students for this tactic. Last year, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee posted eviction notices on dorm doors. The year before, students at Florida Atlantic University and at Rutgers posted the same notices on their campuses. All three incidents were investigated. But none of the schools took any actions against the groups involved.

Silverglate said he thought the SJP students had a legal case notwithstanding Herbeck’s point that NEU was a private university, not a public or government entity.

“Under Massachusetts state law a private university (such as Northeastern) is obligated to treat its students with a certain minimal degree of fairness, and it seems to me that Northeastern fails this test,” he wrote in an email. “Further…as a liberal arts university purportedly devoted to academic freedom, [NEU] has an arguable implied contractual agreement with its students to grant them such freedom.”

Silverglate added: “Normally in American academia it is pro-Israel speech that is squelched and pro-Palestinian speech that is encouraged by faculty who have very little respect for free speech. But this case, the shoe is on the other foot.”

On March 18, some 200 students staged a protest on the edge of the NEU campus to protest the school’s action. They were careful not to step on campus property; NEU prohibits protests on its campus grounds from any unregistered groups that have not received prior approval.

Alan Dershowitz, the civil liberties lawyer and Harvard Law professor, declined to comment on the issue.

Contact Cara Hogan at feedback@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.