HomeEducationState orders deactivation of UF’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter
State orders deactivation of UF’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter
October 25, 2023
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, in consultation with Governor Ron DeSantis, issued a memo yesterday, ordering the deactivation of two chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in Florida universities–the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.
The memo points to a toolkit that was released by the National Students for Justice in Palestine in preparation for a “Day of Resistance” on October 12, 2023. The memo refers to the United States and Canada as “occupied Turtle Island” and calls on the student chapters to host demonstrations “in support of our resistance in Palestine and the national liberation struggle–one which they play a critical role in actualizing… Resistance comes in all forms–armed struggle, general strikes, and popular demonstrations. All of it is legitimate, and all of it is necessary… We as Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement… We must act as part of this movement.”
The toolkit uses the slogan “from the river to the sea,” which is used by some to call for the elimination of Israel as a nation.
The memo from Rodrigues cites a Florida statute passed in 2019 that makes it a felony under Florida law to “knowingly provide material support… to a designated foreign terrorist organization.” Since the toolkit calls on SJP chapters to join forces with Al-Aqsa Flood, the Palestinian term for the terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians on October 7, Rodrigues writes, that indicates that the chapters are providing support to a terrorist organization.
The memo directs universities to deactivate the chapters but states that the students may form “another organization that complies with Florida state statutes and university policies” and further directs that the chapters should be granted a waiver on any deadlines for fall semester registration, if they decide to reapply.
The memo concludes by stating that Florida will continue to “ensure we are all using all tools at our disposal to crack down on campus demonstrations that delve beyond protected First Amendment speech into harmful support for terrorist groups. These measures could include necessary adverse employment actions and suspensions for school officials.”
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