GWU's Own Findings Show It Violated Students' Speech Rights Again

University Too Often Chills Guaranteed Students' Freedom of Speech
WASHINGTON - Dec. 27, 2022 - PRLog -- In its own recent written decision, George Washington University [GWU] completely exonerated a Palestinian student group - including its president and other members - of any wrongdoing related to a peaceful protest ( on public sidewalks, after having charged them with causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, calling GWU police to the scene, investigating the students involved with the protest, and threatening the group's president with disciplinary probation plus limiting the privileges of the entire student organization.

A disciplinary hearing conducted by the University revealed that the alleged damage, which GWU had blamed on the Palestinian student group, had in fact been caused by a Jewish organization which had publicly admitted to the wrongdoing; something which had been pointed out to GWU numerous times, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf of GWU.

Despite this, the hearing found, GWU's own Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement leadership called the campus police to the protest who then questioned at least one Arab student.

The leadership also filed the formal complaint which led to a disciplinary hearing which could have resulted in probation, and on limits on the privileges of the entire student organization - including members who were not even present at the time.

While the official charge finally brought against the Palestinian students was "for misconduct related to property" (e.g. improperly putting up posters), the report of the event in the GWU school newspaper focused primarily on the peaceful protest - which had been videotaped (

As one example, the newspaper article entitled "Students For Justice In Palestine Facing Disciplinary Charges From GW After Protest." began: "Students for Justice in Palestine is facing disciplinary charges from GW in connection to a protest outside the GW Hillel building in October against a speaker who formerly worked for the Israeli Defense Forces, according to a Palestine rights advocacy rights group."

Thus many might believe that GWU's actions were triggered by the student protest, and not by how some posters were put up, especially since some Jewish students complained that they felt targeted by the protest, GWU for Israel called the protest a display of "antisemitism," and Interim University GWU President Mark Wrighton said officials heard that Jewish community members felt the October protest was directed toward them.

This is not the only recent incident in which GWU has apparently discriminated against foreign students and their rights to free speech guaranteed in a binding legal contract with the university, suggests Banzhaf.

He notes that the DC Office of Human Rights has already charged GWU with illegal discrimination based upon national origin as a result of a formal legal complaint.   @profbanzhaf

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