Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Court Orders Fordham U. To Recognize Students For Justice In Palestine Club

A New York state court has ordered Fordham University to recognize a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, ending a two-year legal saga.

The dean’s office at Fordham, a Jesuit Catholic school with campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester County, had banned SJP in 2017 after the student government voted to approve it. “The narrowness of Students for Justice in Palestine’s political focus makes it more akin to a lobbying group than a student club,” the university said in a statement then.

But Judge Nancy Bannon found that Fordham had infringed on SJP members’ rights by following its own regulations for recognizing student clubs.

“Fordham did not abide by its own published rules governing the approval and recognition of student clubs, in as much as it seemingly imposed an additional tier of review, by a dean, of an approval already rendered by the USG,” Bannon wrote in her opinion, according to the Fordham Ram, the school’s student newspaper.

Lead plaintiff and Fordham graduate Ahmad Awad said that the ban didn’t stop him from engaging in advocacy. “I continued to advocate for justice in Palestine, and now because of Justice Bannon’s order, no Fordham student will be restricted or prohibited from advocating for justice in Palestine,” he said in a statement.

A university spokesperson told the Ram that they were reviewing the ruling.

SJP is one of the largest student organizations advocating for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, with more than 250 chapters around the country.

The Department of Education adopted last year an official definition of anti-Semitism that includes applying “double standards” to Israel, “demonizing” it or denying its right to exist. Several prominent BDS advocates have called for the end of Israel as a Jewish state, leading many to categorize the movement as anti-Semitic. But SJP and other BDS organizations also have several Jewish members among its leadership.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.