(Boston, November 7, 2013) – The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Northeastern University and Northeastern University School of Law join CUNY School of Law SJP in condemning the suspension of City College of New York (CCNY) students Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov for their anti-militarization activism.
We share their further condemnation of the September arrest of the CUNY 6 as they protested General David Petraeus’s appointment, and of the October closing of the independently run Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center. We are deeply concerned about the attempted punishment and suppression of student organizers of color, such as Vasquez and Sourov.
These events continue the nationwide pattern of silencing campus activists who organize against militarism and settler colonialism. At Northeastern this year, SJP chapters posted pro-Palestinian flyers; organized panels, pickets, and marches; and staged a walk-out from a campus IDF event. Subsequently, our undergrad chapter was sanctioned, our fliers were torn down, all law school student bulletin boards were moved without notice, and our leaders faced violence and death threats from unaffiliated parties. Yet, we have grown even more determined to voice our opposition to U.S. and Israeli militarism.
Indeed, we share our CUNY Law SJP counterparts’ passionate opposition to U.S. drone strikes, militarization, and economic injustice on campus and beyond. Here at Northeastern, which has an auditorium named for the war profiteer Raytheon, we are inspired by CUNY students’ determination to confront the ugly relationship between austerity in higher education and the U.S. military-industrial complex. We hope to match the strength of their convictions when General Petraeus arrives in Boston to take his teaching post across the river at Harvard University.
The silencing of student activists at CUNY and at Northeastern reaffirms our belief that oppressive policies inherent in U.S. militarism are present here at home. The legal repression and intimidation that Palestine solidarity activists face in the U.S. is part and parcel of the U.S.’s support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing, military occupation, and apartheid system inflicted onto the Palestinian people. The prosecution of students at the University of California, Irvine for First Amendment activity, and the recent arrest of Palestinian American community leader Rasmea Odeh, to name but two additional examples, point toward this disturbing nationwide trend.
The Northeastern SJP chapters stand in solidarity with the CUNY students facing politically motivated attacks from the police and the university. We support CUNY students in their demand that all the charges against the CUNY 6 be dropped and the suspended students are reinstated immediately.