The University of Arizona student-run organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, canceled a rally after the universitys President, Dr. Robert Robbins released a statement on campus demonstrations.
According to a post on Instagram, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) stated they were holding the rally, to demonstrate in support of Palestinians and to demand that the US government and University of Arizona disinvest from Israeli apartheid and violence against the Palestinian people.
On October 11th, Robbins released a statement addressing freedom of speech on campus, along with resources available to students. In his statement he addressed the actions of SJP.
We understand that a national student organization with a chapter at the University of Arizona called Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, is planning a demonstration on campus tomorrow. The national organization has made statements endorsing the actions of Hamas in Israel, which are, of course, antithetical to our university’s values. As a public university, we have both the obligation and the opportunity to support and defend free speech and open dialogue. We recognize that the First Amendment protects speech and demonstrations, even for ideas and opinions that most find objectionable or hateful. I want to be clear that SJP is not speaking on behalf of our university. But they have the constitutional right to hold their views and to express them in a safe environment.
A couple of hours before the planned rally on October 11, SJP made a post on Instagram stating that because of Robbins statement they do not feel safe holding their rally on campus and will be postponing it.
Kelsey Jannerson, the Assistant Director of University of Arizona Hillel Foundation said that such demonstrations may be hurtful to Jewish students.
Jannerson said, For there to be a planned rally around that time when people are in active mourning is something thats going to make them feel acutely unsafe and that gets further pushed on by them being able to observe what the global communitys response has been to this.