American Fordham University will not allow students to form Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group, claiming it promotes one countryâs interests.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Fordham, a Jesuit school in New York City, said that SJP would act more like a political lobby than a traditional campus club.
âFordham has no registered student clubs the sole focus of which is the political agenda of one nation, against another nation,â the statement read, according to Days of Palestine.
âThe narrowness of Students for Justice in Palestineâs political focus makes it more akin to a lobbying group than a student club. Regardless of the clubâs status, students, faculty, and staff are of course free to voice their opinions on Palestine, or any other issue.â
Justifying its anti-Palestinian act, Fordham said there is also no pro-Israel student group in campus. There is aÂ Jewish studentsâ club, but its description does not mention Israel. However, the main reason for this body is to lobby for the Israeli occupation state.
Palestine Legal, a pro-Palestinian legal advocacy group, sent aÂ letterÂ protesting the decision to Fordham President Rev. Joseph M. McShane.
The letter says that denial of an SJP chapter could constitute a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, colour or national origin.
Fordhamâs decision ânot only violates the free speech, associational and academic freedom principles to which Fordham claims to adhere, but also raises civil rights concerns,â Palestine Legalâs letter read. âFordham has betrayed principles of free speech to which it promises to adhere.â
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