Ithaca College (YouTube screenshot) YouTube screenshot
Ithaca College

The anti-Israel group demanded a statement falsely accusing Israel of genocide, a cessation of Ithaca Hillel’s Birthright program, and access to information about funding from Israeli organizations. 

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

The president of Ithaca College, a school located in New York, has rejected the demands of an anti-Zionist group on campus that staged a “die-in” at the school’s Peggy Ryan Williams Center while events for newly admitted students took place there.

According to The Ithacan, the official campus newspaper of Ithaca College, President La Jerne Terry Cornish refused to accede to three demands made by Students for Palestine (SFP): issuing a statement acknowledging a falsely alleged genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, shuttering Ithaca Hillel’s Birthright program for Jewish students, and, in the paper’s words, an audit “that would provide access to information about if the college receives funding from any Israeli or Zionist corporations.”

Through the college’s public relations office, Cornish told the paper that she has higher priorities.

“President Cornish told them that her sphere of influence and focus remains on representing the entire Ithaca College community, and that the best use of her voice is in advocating for dialogue across differences and in encouraging further opportunities for education, both inside and outside of the classroom,” college spokesperson Dave Maley said in a statement.

“President Cornish has great concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and she stands by her previous statements to the campus community expressing her horror at the ongoing violence in Gaza and Israel; her support for the college’s Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students; and her condemnation of all forms of hatred and bigotry, including Islamophobia and antisemitism,” Maley continued.

One student told The Ithacan that Students for Palestine intends to take further action, such as “showing the administration how many students are disappointed and unhappy and angry with them.” He suggested that a legion of students will join them to “keep pushing that it is not okay to stay silent.”

“Sit-ins” and “die-ins,” demonstrations in which anti-Zionist students unlawfully occupy a building and lie on the floor for hours until campus officials give them what they want, have occurred at higher education institutions across the country since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of civilians in southern Israel.

Last week, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee suspended over a dozen students belonging to an anti-Zionist group that occupied an administrative building and refused to leave, according to the school’s official newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler. During the demonstration, students performed in full view of their peers private bathroom functions, including relieving themselves in plastic bottles. The suspended students are banned from campus until further notice.

Another sit-in at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, staged by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has lasted nearly a week despite the college’s president, Sarah Willie-LeBreton, saying that the demonstration is against school policy and has interfered with official business, including serving students who are disabled.

“Disruption is necessary when injustice is occurring,” SJP said on Sunday in a statement attached to a petition which defends the group’s actions. “There can be no status quo during genocide, at Smith College, or anywhere. There is no disability justice, no equity and inclusion, no protection from legal discrimination, no class justice than can exist without a free Palestine.”

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