Across the country, universities are experiencing a wave of anti-Semitic groups disguised as anti-Zionist groups. While some universities have taken action against these groups, many refuse, claiming that their actions are ones of free speech and not ones of hatred and racism. These politically correct school administrators claim to protect the First Amendment rights of all of their students; however, they often do so in a way that allows for those who they protect to disrupt the First Amendment rights of those they oppose.
The one of most problematic of these universities is Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Over the past couple years, FAU has had various problems with Jewish and Christian students alike. However, their main problems come from their campus’ Israel community. One would assume that a campus containing Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and CAMERA Campus Activist Project (CCAP) groups would not have a problem with anti-Israel (let alone anti-Semitic) actions.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has a strong Florida Atlantic University group. In the past, they have organized anti-Israel protests including chanting, apartheid walls, and mock dead babies. The group has also illegally posted false eviction notices on student dorms and hosted known anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Greta Berlin. When Berlin came to FAU’s campus, the group obstructed freedom of the press by advertising the event as public, but then not allowing video cameras inside. This directly contradicts the university’s legal obligation to allow First Amendment rights to all, as it is a public university. Secondly, the fake eviction notices that SJP posted illegally used the Palm Beach County seal, forcing the county to issue a cease and desist. Meanwhile, FAU’s housing department had previously approved of the protest despite the misused seal. An FAU staff member even escorted the students as they posted the notices. The university did all of this despite the illegal seal and the anti-Semitic message inside the notice. The university later condemned the posting of these notices, but not their racist content.
Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Zionist Organization of America, as well as a United States Congressman, warned Dr. Charles Brown (senior VP for student affairs) and the university’s most recent president, Mary Jane Saunders, against standing by the group, but they refused to listen. However, Saunders resigned in May 2013. In her resignation she stated, “There is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the University community. The issues and the fiercely negative media coverage have forced me to reassess my position as the President of FAU. I must make choices that are the best for the University, me and my family.” Blaming her resignation on the fierce media coverage for her resignation demonstrates her inability to recognize what her and her administration did wrong. She was unable to admit that her administration allowed anti-Semitism to persist on their campus.
While everyone has a right to the First Amendment, particularly on public campuses, administrations cannot stand idly by and allow for hate speech to occur.
Contributed by CAMERA intern Rachel Wolf