In the wake of recent protests surrounding the Palestine-Israel conflict, the Student Union released an Instagram post “in light of recent events.” The Student Union added that they “appreciate and hear all student feedback, and as such, felt it necessary to make the following statement.”
First, the post says that, “in light of recent events, many Brandeis students have publicly called on the Student Union to take action regarding a video of one of our members chanting the phrase ‘Nakba.’ We felt it imperative to add context regarding what had previously been private discussions within the Student Union.” This refers to Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine, a student organization who called for the removal of the Student Union member in question in a recent protest. The post continues, saying “Student Union leaders, including the Student Union Judiciary, have been aware of this video for some time. It first came to our attention in December via an anonymous email. The Student Union Judiciary began deliberations regarding possible actions.”
The message adds that “in consultation with the Dean of Students office, it was ultimately decided that the Student Union Judiciary—which enforces the Student Union Code of Conduct—could not move unilaterally to remove the student present in the video.” The Student Union added that the judiciary is not able to pass judgment on students’ actions before said student becomes a member of the Student Union. Given that the video was taken while the student was in high school, action against the student could not be taken by the Student Union Judiciary.
However, due to the nature of this student’s actions, the Student Union judiciary chose to enforce the Code of Conduct retroactively. Rather than draw more attention to the video, “Senior members of the Student Union … decided not to further publicize the video, because the Judiciary does not publicly comment on its deliberations. In general practice, the Student Union also tries to not draw negative attention to individual students.” But, as the video has received “widespread attention from many students, and hampers [the Student Union’s] ability to act as a fair and representative body … senior members of the Union have asked said student to resign. Said senator has refused to resign for the time being.”
In closing, the Student Union stated that they released this statement because of their “commitment to transparency.” They added that this student was “given ample time to respond and has not done so, leading us to feel a need to clarify our position and past actions.”
The Hoot reached out to both the senator mentioned in the Student Union’s Instagram post and to Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.