University of Arizona and ASU Approach Israel And Palestine Protests Differently

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The Students for Justice in Palestine did not proceed with a rally they planned Thursday in Tucson, Arizona, after University of Arizona President Robert Robbins condemned the group.

Robbins said that the national organization of the group is why he disagrees with the rally, but said that they still were allowed to hold the demonstration.

“The national organization has made statements endorsing the actions of Hamas in Israel, which are, of course, antithetical to our university’s values,” Robbins said in a statement.

“I want to be clear that SJP is not speaking on behalf of our university. But they have the constitutional right to hold their views and to express them in a safe environment,” he said.

He also directly called out antisemitism in the statement, as the university has a sizeable Jewish population, and he encouraged civility in the coming days as tensions ran high.

As a result, the school’s chapter said in an Instagram post that they “no longer feel safe” and said they would postpone their demonstration.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona chapter praised Robbins for directly calling out Hamas, the terrorist group that triggered the conflict in Israel.

“We are very grateful to [University of Arizona President] Robbins for your letter to [University of Arizona] students & faculty condemning the acts of Hamas as “antisemitic hatred, murder, and [an] atrocity.” We appreciate your calling out SJP’s endorsement of Hamas as antithetical to the university’s values,” the organization posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.

Arizona State University took a different approach to the matter, despite both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine events taking place on campus Thursday. University President Michael Crow has not made a statement himself, and the university stopped short of commenting on any specific campus group.

“The university is aware of the student-led demonstration on our Tempe campus. Students organized and promoted the event themselves. Arizona State University neither endorses nor restricts opinions voiced at campus demonstrations, as a matter of free speech,” the university said in an email statement when contacted by The Center Square.

ASU also put out a statement on Oct. 10 making students and faculty aware of support resources available to them.

“The recent terrorist attacks by Hamas against the people of Israel and the subsequent retaliatory strikes have understandably caused distress and concern across the globe and in the Arizona State University community,” they stated.

In the wake of the conflict in the Middle East that began last week, demonstrations at universities throughout the country have took off in recent days, prompting a wide variety of responses from campus officials.

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This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

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