American Fordham University will not allow students to form Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group, claiming it promotes one country’s interests.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Fordham, a Jesuit school in New York City, said that the SJP group would act more like a political lobby than a traditional campus club.
“Fordham has no registered student clubs the sole focus of which is the political agenda of one nation, against another nation,” the statement read.
“The narrowness of Students for Justice in Palestine’s political focus makes it more akin to a lobbying group than a student club. Regardless of the club’s status, students, faculty, and staff are of course free to voice their opinions on Palestine, or any other issue.”
Justifying its anti-Palestinian act, Fordham said there is also no pro-Israel student group in campus. There is a Jewish students’ 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 a letter 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.
Fordham’s decision “not only violates the free speech, associational and academic freedom principles to which Fordham claims to adhere, but also raises civil rights concerns,” Palestine Legal’s letter read. “Fordham has betrayed principles of free speech to which it promises to adhere.”