In February 2010, a student at the University of California, San Diego, left a noose dangling from a bookcase in the school library. Although the noose was directed at no individual student, the obvious racial overtones of this symbol of the Southern lynch mob provoked predictable outrage.
In protest, students occupied the chancellor’s office. A campus teach-in on tolerance was held. Black students publicly expressed their indignation, pain, and fear to a sympathetic campus administration. The chancellor issued an uncompromising statement condemning the incident and pledged to eliminate hatred on campus.
Once the racial cauldron bubbled over, a coed came forward and took responsibility for the incident. She wrote a letter of apology to the school newspaper and said that she never intended to make a racist statement. She had no idea of the historic implications of the noose. She herself was a member of a minority group.
The administration suspended her. Although by all accounts she was guiltier of abject stupidity than a hate crime, the campus administration asked the city and county attorneys as well as the FBI to file hate crime charges.
In May of the same year, David Horowitz spoke on the UCSD campus. During the question and answer period, Jumanah Imad Albahri, a member of the Muslim Student Association, unflinchingly announced her support for killing Jews.
The chancellor’s office was not stormed. Albahri was not suspended. The campus administration did not seek prosecution for a hate crime. The FBI was not called. The student government did not even announce that it would no longer commit 37,000 dollars to fund the MSA’s Jew-bashing Israel Apartheid Week. Ms. Albahri was simply expressing her constitutionally protected opinion.
Fast forward to this year and Florida Atlantic University. Students for Justice in Palestine plastered mock eviction notices, propaganda circulars designed to mischaracterize Israeli policies in the territories, on the doors of 200 student dorm rooms and elsewhere in residence halls. The seal of the university’s housing authority was imprinted on the bottom of the notice, giving official approval to the propaganda posting which depicted Israelis as wanton oppressors and perpetrators of brutality against civilians.
A dormitory door is part of someone’s home. In many states, the law protects the privacy of student dorm rooms the same way it protects the privacy of anyone’s home. No one has any more right to put something on someone’s dormitory door than they have to put it on the door of your home. No one has the right to intimidate you in your home. Intimidation is the purpose of the SJP false eviction campaign, which was carried out on campuses beyond Florida Atlantic.
Some students were so shocked by the notice that they took it to be real. Jewish students were particularly offended by the mock eviction notices, which woefully mischaracterized Israeli policies, going up in their place of residence. No one seemed to care about their indignation, pain, and fear.