College Student Government Overruled

College Student Government Overruled

( – The student government of a prominent university recently denied a group supporting Israel the opportunity to become a club. Students Supporting Israel (SSI) is a pro-Israel group on the campus of Duke University. On November 24, the school president and provost issued a joint statement overruling the Duke Student Government (DSG). They said the university found the means for SSI to acquire funding and program support without the formal recognition of the student government.

In addition, the two senior school leaders stated the choice to deny the SSI chapter formal recognition was not a decision the school made, supported or sanctioned. The Duke University Office of Institutional Equity and the Office of Conduct and Community Standards is evaluating the DSG’s decision. It wants to learn if the DSG discriminated against SSI because of their members’ religion, ethnicity or national origin.

The controversy arose after the student senate initially approved SSI’s inclusion into the system on November 10. Then, on November 13, the DSG’s president vetoed the approval after club members allegedly singled out a student on social media. Student Elyana Riddick posted on (and later removed from) Twitter the university “promotes settler colonialism.” SSI quickly responded, stating these types of situations are why SSI exists: to educate people on false narratives.

The SSI chapter president said the university’s decision was a step in the right direction, but more action was necessary. He said the SSI chapter should not have a separate but equal status with other clubs. The chapter remains firm in its desire to reverse the student government decision, asserting the pro-Israeli group only wants to be treated like every other club on campus.

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