Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) sent out a list of demands in October after meeting with various chancellors in response to a mass email from the school suggesting that an SJP presentation was anti-Semitic.
Campus Reform“Concerns were raised about a recent presentation with anti-Semitic content at a staff development program by a Housing student-worker,” reads the email from UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones, obtained by Campus Reform. Jones was referencing a presentation given to a full-time staff member and 11 other student-employees.
After describing this and a swastika allegedly found in a campus building, the chancellor announced that full-time housing staff, multicultural advocates, and resident advisors would be required to complete anti-Semitism training.
In response, the SJP released a list of demands, calling for, among other items, a new mass email making a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, a clarification in the email that the referenced student presentation did not feature anti-Semitism, the hiring of additional Palestinian faculty, and the requirement for housing personnel to be educated on “Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, queerphobia, and other forms of racism/bias.”
SJP asked the university to denounce a perceived link between Nazi symbols with Palestinian-related content.
According to SJP, “failure to comply with the demands above will result in students’ demand for the resignation of Chancellor Robert Jones from his office.”
Jewish Journal The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Student Senate passed a resolution denying a link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on Oct. 23, causing more than 400 Jewish students to walk out of the meeting in protest.
Fox Illinois reports that the resolution passed with 29 votes in favor, four against and four abstaining. The resolution states that the Oxford English dictionary defines Zionism as “the assured settlement of [Jewish people’s] race upon a national basis in Palestine” and condemns “the constant conflation of Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism.”
Student Lauren Nesher added that the resolution’s passage shows that student leaders believe “that Jews on this campus do not have the right to define” anti-Semitism. “We will not negotiate anti-Semitism,” Nesher said. “We will not negotiate our safety. We will not negotiate our fear. We will not negotiate our homeland. We will not negotiate anti-Semitism.”