The fifteenth full Senate meeting scheduled for Monday, April 16th at 8:00 pm, was canceled per Bylaw 503, Section 3. Per the rules of succession, with no Senate or committee leadership in attendance to chair the meeting, the Bylaws mandate that no full Senate meeting is allowed to be held. We issued a statement late Monday night. However, we directly apologize to Palestinian students on campus for failing to address the specific security threats they and their allies face on their campus. We are sorry for this omission.
We recognize the magnitude of SR-S18-21 The Protection of Palestinian Human Rights Act and the importance of creating space for this issue to be discussed. We appreciate the difficult conversations held by our student community and the significant emotional impact and personal sacrifice involved in this debate.
Bylaw 503, Section 3 was invoked due to the significant security and safety concerns for Palestinian students and their allies which have escalated over the past days and weeks. Despite repeated requests made by the Student Association to the GW Division of Safety & Security, GW Police Department (GWPD) rejected all requests for posted security at Monday’s meeting.
We had to prioritize the safety of Palestinian students and their allies, who have been targeted by outside organizations and members of our community. Posters, sponsored social media posts, and anonymous emails by blacklist sites and organizations were intended to condemn Palestinian students and their allies. These incidents are particularly threatening, given the discrimination and marginalization of Palestinian students face daily.
We are not willing to put these students in harm’s way. Following last year’s meeting, we have repeatedly mentioned the need for university support in the conversation. On March 23rd, before the resolution was formally to the Senate, we notified the University of safety concerns and have been in contact with the university since then. Today, we met with a GWPD officer to file a report on behalf of students. We weren’t intending to cancel the Senate meeting, imploring the department to reconsider the absence of posted police presence as late as 7:30 pm on Monday. However, the lack of sufficient security from the university forced us to cancel the meeting.
We are working with the sponsors of the resolution to ensure the university provides adequate security to hold a Senate meeting on this resolution. The Student Association is dedicated to facilitating open discussion that will move this conversation forward.
Peak Sen Chua
Student Association President
Student Association Executive Vice President