Pro-Palestinian UCI students appeal sanctions after Israeli event protest

A pro-Palestinian student group at UC Irvine is appealing its punishment in response to a protest that flared during an on-campus Israeli veterans panel in May.

University administrators gave the Students for Justice in Palestine two years of probation, 12 mandatory meetings to discuss free speech and a requirement to meet with administrators two weeks before hosting any event after a heated discussion during the May 10 event, a panel featuring Israeli military veterans.

In a statement, representatives for Students for Justice in Palestine said their clapping and chanting at the event, sponsored by Students Supporting Israel, was in response to aggressive behavior by a member of the soldiers’ group.

“It’s outrageous that the university is punishing us, students, instead of protecting us from aggressive foreign military agents on campus,” Daniel Carnie, a Jewish UCI student, said in a statement. “We’re a diverse group of Palestinian, black, Latino and Jewish students who attended the soldiers’ speaking event and asked critical questions.”

Campus police officers escorted the panelists to the parking lot after the event. No arrests were made.

Students for Justice in Palestine said its members have been harassed and cyber-bullied since the event, and said it has filed a discrimination complaint.

In May 2016, the group disrupted a screening of a film about Israeli soldiers. UCI administrators later said the Palestine group violated student conduct policies, though the university said several other allegations of wrongdoing were unfounded.

The group was given a warning that its behavior was under increased scrutiny and that another violation could lead to harsher consequences.

hillary.davis@latimes.com

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