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Indybay Feature
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 09/24/16)
UC Berkeley Reinstates Course on Palestine Following Outcry
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 09/24/16)
Course Examining Palestine through Lens of Settler Colonialism Nearly Censored
University of California Berkeley (Cal) reinstated a student-led course on Palestine on September 19, following an outcry over its arbitrary suspension the previous week. The suspension, taken in apparent response to pressure from Israel advocacy groups, was widely condemned -- by students, professors, and observers -- as a violation of academic freedom, shocking, and unjustifiable.

The organization Palestine Legal sent a letter to Cal Chancellor Dirks on September 16, on behalf of Paul Hadweh, the student facilitator, warning that the suspension infringed on First Amendment rights and principles of academic freedom. The letter demanded immediate reinstatement and an apology to the students. Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Carla Hesse, announced in a statement that the course is reinstated.

“I hope we can now focus on the challenging intellectual and political questions that this course seeks to address,” said Paul Hadweh, the course facilitator and Cal senior whose family is originally from Bethlehem.

“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”

Read More: UC Berkeley Reinstates Course on Palestine | UC Berkeley Suspends 'Palestine' Course | UC Berkeley Censors Course on Palestine and Settler Colonialism
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