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October 23, 2014 0

Tufts University Hosting National Students For Justice In Palestine Conference

Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), the nation’s largest pro-Palestinian stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion with more than 80 active chap­ters on col­lege and uni­ver­sity cam­puses, will hold its 4th National Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine Con­fer­ence at Tufts Uni­ver­sity. The con­fer­ence, which runs from Octo­ber 24–26, is titled “Beyond Sol­i­dar­ity: Resist­ing Racism and Colo­nial­ism from the U.S. to Pales­tine,” a ref­er­ence to SJP activists’ efforts to con­nect vary­ing strug­gles and move­ments to the Pales­tin­ian cause.sjp-national-conference-tufts-university

As with pre­vi­ous SJP national con­fer­ences this year’s con­fer­ence is only open to stu­dents who are active with a cam­pus group. The con­fer­ence is set to fea­ture a wide array of anti-Israel activists, includ­ing uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sors, stu­dents, clergy mem­bers, and mem­bers of the global Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) movement.

Among the invited speak­ers are J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Amer­i­can Stud­ies & Anthro­pol­ogy at Wes­leyan Uni­ver­sity and an advi­sor to the U.S. Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic and Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (USACBI); Muham­mad Desai, the coor­di­na­tor of BDS South Africa who was seen singing the words “shoot the Jew” at a 2013 anti-Israel protest; Sara Ker­sh­ner, a co-founder of the Inter­na­tional Jew­ish Anti-Zionist Net­work; and sev­eral stu­dent activists from var­i­ous SJP chapters.

The con­fer­ence pan­els, accord­ing to the SJP con­fer­ence web­site, will con­sist of dis­cus­sions that con­flate social jus­tice with the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Panel titles include: “From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine: Resist­ing State Vio­lence and Racism,” and “Migrant Jus­tice and the Undoc­u­mented Pales­tin­ian Expe­ri­ence in the U.S.” SJP chap­ters often try to link domes­tic issues and events, such as the Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri shoot­ing and its after­math to the con­flict in Gaza, couch­ing hos­til­ity toward Israel in social jus­tice terms to appeal to a broader audi­ence. In addi­tion, there will also be a ses­sion on “Islamic Move­ments of Pales­tine,” that will exam­ine “how Islam informed resis­tance move­ments and what dif­fer­ent ways Islamic move­ments oper­ated in Palestine.”

In pre­vi­ous years SJP held its national con­fer­ence at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity in 2011, the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan in 2012, and at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity in 2013. The con­fer­ences typ­i­cally include inflam­ma­tory lan­guage and rhetoric to describe Israel, and, at times, speak­ers have glo­ri­fied the use of vio­lence by Pales­tin­ian groups.

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March 21, 2014 1

Divestment Resolutions Abound on U.S. Campuses This Week

In the wake of Israeli Apartheid Week, which recently wrapped up after tak­ing place on sev­eral dozen col­lege cam­puses dur­ing the month of March, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were intro­duced on four U.S. col­lege cam­puses this loyoladivestweek.

Here’s a run­down on the res­o­lu­tions – two of which passed, two of which were held up – that were intro­duced this week:

Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity – Although the Loy­ola Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter had dis­sem­i­nated a peti­tion urg­ing the uni­ver­sity to with­draw invest­ments in five cor­po­ra­tions, the cam­pus was blind­sided by the sur­prise intro­duc­tion of a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion in  the Stu­dent Sen­ate on Tues­day. The res­o­lu­tion, which passed by a vote of 26–0-2, had not pre­vi­ously been announced and stu­dents who sought to oppose it were not given the oppor­tu­nity to express their perspective.

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity – Also on Tues­day, a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity (ASU) to divest from Cater­pil­lar, which pro­vides heavy machin­ery to the Israeli army, was tabled by the Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment. The bill was intro­duced by the group “ASU Divest from Cater­pil­lar Inc.” and it will report­edly be amended and rein­tro­duced by ASU’s SJP chap­ter in the near future.

Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan – The Cen­tral Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment (CSG) was sched­uled to vote on a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion ini­ti­ated by the anti-Israel stu­dent group “Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity” (SAFE). The meet­ing attracted an over­whelm­ingly large num­ber of stu­dents and as the room became over­crowded, the meet­ing was moved to another loca­tion on cam­pus where an announce­ment was made that the vot­ing ses­sion would be post­poned indef­i­nitely. Accord­ing to the Michi­gan Daily, the crowd then “pressed up against the stan­chions divid­ing the room and chanted ‘Divest’ at the CSG mem­bers for sev­eral min­utes.” In addi­tion, more than 100 stu­dents gath­ered out­side of the Michi­gan Union to rally in favor of divestment.

The fol­low­ing day, mem­bers of SAFE declared that they were con­duct­ing a “sit-in” near the stu­dent gov­ern­ment offices until the CSG would hold a vote on their divest­ment res­o­lu­tion. The stu­dents  took over the space and refused to leave until they were told that they would be arrested. Reports on Twit­ter indi­cate that mem­bers of the group are cur­rently recon­ven­ing for the third day of their “sit-in.”

San Diego State Uni­ver­sity – San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Stu­dent Diver­sity Com­mis­sion passed a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion by a vote of 11–6-2 on March 19. The res­o­lu­tion now will report­edly be brought before the uni­ver­sity council.

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February 26, 2014 0

Stereotyped Theme Parties Are Way More than a Joke on College Campuses

retrocollege

It hap­pened again. Col­lege stu­dents dressed up like mem­bers of a “cul­ture” for a stereo­typed theme party.

In the most recent exam­ple, soror­ity stu­dents at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity were pho­tographed wear­ing som­breros, thick mus­taches, pon­chos and hold­ing mara­cas. They also por­trayed other nation­al­i­ties. What’s worse is that these types of par­ties are not anom­alies, but com­mon occur­rences on col­lege campuses.

African-themed par­ties; “thug,” “hood” or “ratchet”-themed par­ties; and Asian-rager par­ties all tend to fol­low a sim­i­lar for­mula. They are fueled by the per­cep­tion that stereo­types mock­ing racial or cul­tural groups are fun and funny.

On the sur­face, some may say, “What’s the harm? They are just col­lege stu­dents hav­ing fun.” But is this really humor? The answer is: not when the “humor” dehu­man­izes and mar­gin­al­izes real peo­ple, and not when it per­pet­u­ates harm­ful stereotypes.

These par­ties reflect a per­sis­tent neg­a­tive atti­tude about peo­ple of color that is cen­turies old. It’s more than a joke; it’s an expres­sion of prej­u­dice against groups of peo­ple.  And these instances have a long-lasting effect by cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment that tells stu­dents of color they are not wel­come or respected at that college.

Accord­ing to FBI sta­tis­tics, 48 per­cent of hate crimes per­pe­trated in the United States were moti­vated by race, so there is much work to do. The U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice also reports the third most com­mon loca­tion nation­wide for a hate crime to occur is on a school or col­lege cam­pus and 60% of known hate crime offend­ers are under the age of 24.

Col­leges have an oppor­tu­nity to chal­lenge over-simplified, stereo­typ­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of peo­ple by con­sid­er­ing the fol­low­ing steps:

  • Speak out and con­demn every instance when racist or other dis­crim­i­na­tory lan­guage and images are used
  • Edu­cate social Greek orga­ni­za­tions and other stu­dent lead­er­ship groups that they have an oppor­tu­nity to uplift the school’s rep­u­ta­tion and val­ues on diversity
  • Edu­cate about stereo­types, and chal­lenge their use in casual and for­mal set­tings. Work with stu­dents to unpack their biased beliefs and under­stand the poten­tial impact of those beliefs
  • Invite stu­dents to take respon­si­bil­ity for cre­at­ing a bias-free school campus

For hand­outs and infor­ma­tion on “Chal­leng­ing Your Biases” and “Cre­at­ing a Bias– Free Learn­ing Envi­ron­ment,” please visit our Web site for anti-bias resources.

 


 

Las fies­tas con temáti­cas de estereoti­pos son mucho más que una broma en los cam­pus universitarios

Ocur­rió otra vez. Los estu­di­antes uni­ver­si­tar­ios se vistieron como miem­bros de una “cul­tura” para una fiesta temática de estereotipos.

En el ejem­plo más reciente, los estu­di­antes de una her­man­dad de Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity fueron fotografi­a­dos luciendo som­breros, grue­sos big­otes, pon­chos y soste­niendo mara­cas. Tam­bién rep­re­sen­taron otras nacional­i­dades. Lo peor es que este tipo de fies­tas no son algo raro, sino even­tos comunes en los cam­pus universitarios.

Las fies­tas con temática africana; fies­tas  con temáti­cas de “matones,” “rufi­anes” o “gol­fos”; y las par­ran­das con temática asiática tien­den a seguir una fór­mula sim­i­lar. Son ali­men­tadas por la per­cep­ción de que los estereoti­pos que se burlan de los gru­pos raciales o cul­tur­ales son diver­tidos y graciosos.

A sim­ple vista, algunos podrían decir, “¿Qué tiene de malo? Son tan sólo estu­di­antes uni­ver­si­tar­ios divir­tién­dose”. Pero, ¿es eso real­mente humor? La respuesta es: no cuando el “humor” deshu­man­iza y mar­gin­al­iza a per­sonas reales, y no cuando per­petúa estereoti­pos perjudiciales.

Estas fies­tas refle­jan una per­sis­tente acti­tud neg­a­tiva sobre las per­sonas de color, una acti­tud de hace sig­los. Es más que una broma; es una expre­sión de pre­juicio con­tra gru­pos de per­sonas.  Y estos casos tienen un efecto duradero al crear un ambi­ente que dice a los estu­di­antes de color que no son bien­venidos ni respetado en esa universidad.

Según estadís­ti­cas del FBI, el 48 % de los crímenes de odio per­pe­tra­dos en Esta­dos Unidos fueron moti­va­dos por prob­le­mas raciales, así que hay mucho tra­bajo por hacer. El Depar­ta­mento de Jus­ti­cia de Esta­dos Unidos tam­bién informa que el ter­cer lugar más común a nivel nacional para que se dé un crimen de odio es una escuela o cam­pus uni­ver­si­tario, y el 60% de los crim­i­nales de odio cono­ci­dos son menores de 24 años.

Las uni­ver­si­dades tienen una opor­tu­nidad de desafiar las rep­re­senta­ciones exce­si­va­mente sim­pli­fi­cadas y estereoti­padas de las per­sonas, teniendo en cuenta los sigu­ientes pasos:

  • Opon­erse y con­denar cada ocasión en que se util­ice lenguaje o imá­genes racis­tas y discriminatorias
  • Edu­car a las orga­ni­za­ciones sociales grie­gas y otros gru­pos de lid­er­azgo estu­di­antil para que ten­gan la opor­tu­nidad de ele­var la rep­utación de la escuela y sus val­ores sobre la diversidad
  • Edu­car sobre los estereoti­pos y desafiar su uso en ambi­entes for­males y casuales. Tra­ba­jar con los estu­di­antes para desar­raigar sus creen­cias pre­jui­ci­adas y enten­der el posi­ble impacto de dichas creencias
  • Invi­tar a los estu­di­antes a respon­s­abi­lizarse de la creación de una escuela libre de prejuicios

Para fol­letos e infor­ma­ción sobre “Desafiar sus pre­juicios” y “Crear un ambi­ente de apren­dizaje libre de pre­juicios”, por favor vis­ite nue­stro sitio Web para obtener recur­sos con­tra el pre­juicio.

 

 

 

 

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