Rutgers Hillel expressed dismay with a ruling by the Rutgers Bias Prevention Education Committee, which found that there was no bias in in the actions of a pro-Palestinian student group who slipped fake eviction notices under dorm room doors.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine distributed the one page handouts in dorms on Oct. 6, saying they were calling attention to Israeli evictions of Palestinian residents of Gaza from their homes.
Hillel asserted that the flyers were a “blatant” violation of the university rules preventing unauthorized solicitations in dorm rooms, and that some students felt harassed as a result.
However, the university found “that the incident did not constitute a violation of the student life policy prohibiting harassment,” wrote Sarah Luke, the school’s senior assistant general counsel, in a letter last week. “Although the distribution of the mock eviction notices did not violate that policy, it did violate the housing and residence life posting policy, copies of which were made available during student organization orientation. This violation was appropriately addressed.”
“We’re disappointed in it,” said senior associate Hillel director Rabbi Esther Reed.
Reed said even if the bias committee did not see bias in SJP’s actions, the students still felt they were harassed and “we still recognize the feelings of our students.”
Hillel’s Israel co-chair Jake Binstein filed a complaint to the committee on behalf of other Hillel students who felt they were unfairly being targeted because they were Jewish. He had told NJJN that in some cases the targeted students were both the only Jew on their floor and had the only room receiving the notice.
Liz Jackson, a lawyer representing SJP, told The Daily Targum that “the students doing the postering did not target Jewish students and the notices were distributed randomly.”