Tufts U. student group drops complaint over combatting anti-Israel motion

"I am relieved that my Judaism is no longer on trial."

A sign stands at the edge of the campus of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., November 27, 2017 (photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)
A sign stands at the edge of the campus of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., November 27, 2017
(photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)
Tufts University's Community Union (TCU) Judiciary, including Jewish student Max Price, had been reported for opposing anti-Israel commentary by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on campus. Price was consequently targeted with movements to have him removed from student office.
Lawyers who are representing Price, from The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB), demanded Tufts University urgently intervene and halt the proceedings. Before they could do so, however, SJP revoked the impeachment complaint on Friday.
"While I am relieved that my Judaism is no longer on trial, this change in course does not absolve SJP of their behavior," Price said after the complaint against him was removed. "I am disappointed that university administrators failed to intervene, and have not yet reached out to me to address my concerns. Unless Tufts introduces sweeping reforms to combat antisemitism, this will happen to somebody else."
The complaint against Price blamed Israel and its Jewish-American supporters for fueling racist conduct in US law enforcement, and sought to link Israel to white supremacy and police brutality.
SJP members repeatedly accused Price of bias and allegedly bullied and harassed him. They had reportedly targeted Price for speaking against SJP's attempt to include a Deadly Exchange Campaign (DLC) referendum on the student election ballot, which seeks to end cooperation between US and Israeli police, border patrol, FBI and ICE. The DLC claims that these security forces perform "racial profiling, spying and surveillance, deportation and detention," alongside "attacks on human rights defenders."
Such claims inherently link Israel to police brutality in the US. The referendum passed with 68% of the vote. There were some 2,245 "yes" votes and 665 "no" votes, with 161 abstentions. Pro-Israel groups compared it to a modern-day "antisemitic blood libel."
With the complaint, the SJP threatened Price with a disciplinary hearing and removal from office after he had claimed that the DLC presented baseless lies.
Price's response was followed by an alleged months-long campaign of intimidation, harassment and discrimination against him. He was slandered in the student newspaper on campus and interrogated over whether he was fit to hold office. He was even muted for an entire student government Zoom meeting that he was elected to participate in.
Price's lawyers told the heads of the Tufts staff – including Tufts President Anthony Monaco, Tufts General Counsel Mary Jeka and Tufts Provost Nadine Aubry – that Price had been the subject of antisemitic harassment based on his "ethnic and ancestral Jewish identity" which reached its peak with the formally lodged complaint.
“SJP’s position would mean that Black students may not participate in student government discussions related to race, Catholic students may not evaluate student government resolutions related to religion, and Jewish students must be precluded from discussing antisemitism,” the lawyers stated.
When asked by The Jerusalem Post for comment, Tufts University's Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins explained that the university has expressed its respect for TCU Senate's independence "regarding the conduct of its business according to its policies and procedures."
He continued, "We take very seriously any concerns raised by students -- regardless of their backgrounds and perspectives -- of bias, safety, privacy and intimidation, whether by organizations affiliated or unaffiliated with Tufts. We will continue to work closely with our students and university community to foster a productive and safe learning environment for all."