Students for Justice in Palestine cleared of discipline for alleged poster damage: release

Media Credit: Rachel Schwartz | Assistant Photo Editor

An attorney affiliated with the group said the University issued a “warning” to Jewish Voice for Peace for its involvement in the protest, which the organization accepted.

Officials cleared Students for Justice in Palestine and its president of disciplinary charges last month after officials alleged the students of committing conduct violations in November related to an October postering campaign, according to a Palestinian rights advocacy group. 

Palestine Legal – a Palestinian rights advocacy organization representing SJP in the disciplinary case – said in a release last month that the University found SJP and its president, sophomore Lance Lokas, in compliance with the student conduct code while postering outside of the GW Hillel building to protest Doron Tenne, a former IDF intelligence officer who was speaking at an event hosted by GW for Israel and GW Mishelanu. Lokas and the organization faced disciplinary charges in a December hearing held by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for alleged damage to concrete benches outside of Hillel caused by wheatpasting, a process of hanging posters with a mixture of starch and water. 

The University decision stated Lokas “instructed all participants in the beginning of the event about the guidelines and laws around wheat pasting and that it should occur on public property and not on private property,” and that witnesses who attended the postering campaign testified that Lokas only hung posters on public property, according to the release. 

A University spokesperson did not return request to comment. 

Dylan Saba, a staff attorney for Palestine Legal who supported Lokas and SJP through the hearings, said Jewish Voice for Peace members told the University that a white Jewish member of their organization was responsible for wheatpasting posters on benches outside of the Hillel building following the hearing, which Hillel accused SJP of doing.

Saba said the University issued a “warning” to JVP for its involvement in the protest, which the organization accepted.

“After reviewing the hearing and that additional information, GW issued a finding that cleared Lance and SJP of wrongdoing,” he said in an email.

SJP’s October postering campaign led students in hanging posters around campus reading “Decolonize Palestine” and “Zionists F*** Off.” Adena Kirstein, the executive director of GW Hillel, said in an email to the GW Hillel community following the SRR hearing that the posters caused between $1,200 and $4,500 in damages to the benches outside of the Hillel building and were “very difficult” to remove.

“I have a deep appreciation for free speech and understand that all have a right to express their opinions, even if I disagree with them,” she said in the statement, which was obtained by The Hatchet. “But what crossed a line for me was the placement of these signs on Hillel property.”

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