Jewish students at ASU reportedly escorted off campus after protestors disrupt meeting
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The ASU Police Department is investigating after a student government meeting at ASU reportedly turned violent. Pro-Palestine students showed up to the meeting Tuesday night, calling for an economic boycott of Israel. Jewish students were also there voicing support for Israel and talking about safety on campus. “It was divided and it was scary, is how I would describe it,” said Emily Fox-Million, a Jewish student at ASU.
Fox-Million said some pro-Palestine students were yelling antisemitic chants and interrupting students while they were speaking. Things escalated after someone reportedly threw rocks at the window, forcing the meeting to end. “I could name three people who I call friends, leaving and crying. Full of emotion, scared, worried,” said Ben Griffith, a Jewish student at ASU.
The ASU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine released a statement saying the meeting did not turn violent and antisemitic language was not spread by SJP supporters. “As far as the alleged rock throwing, we are aware of the claims but would like to emphasize that we are not aware of any person that threw rocks, and none of the rhetoric being used was encouraging people to do so,” the statement said.
ASU President Michael Crow reiterated that police are investigating and added that the university will not tolerate acts of intimidation or violence. “We are committed to inclusion and respect, and to providing a safe environment for civil dialogue and learning,” said Crow.
This comes during heightened tension at colleges across the country. Many Jewish students have voiced concern about their safety on campus. The Anti-Defamation League said it has seen a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents across the country since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. “When I am out, I always make sure my Star of David is tucked in, unless I am in an environment where I feel safe as a Jewish student, and those spaces are rather limited right now,” said Fox-Million. “It is crucial during this time that we are all hearing each other, even if we don’t all agree, but moments where violence and intimidation are being used against Jewish students, the university needs to act quickly.”
On Friday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, the only Palestinian member of Congress, was set to talk at ASU in Tempe but the event was canceled. A spokesperson for ASU said the event was planned by groups not affiliated with ASU and did not meet university requirements for safety. SJP at ASU said the move violates free speech. Pro-Palestine supporters still gathered on campus, and Tlaib reportedly spoke over the phone instead of in person.
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