Private University Bans Pro-Palestine Student Group Over Hamas Support

Brandeis University in Massachusetts has become the first private university in the United States to ban its chapter of the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) from campus after the group expressed support for Hamas in its calls to eliminate Israel.

Following the horrific October 7 massacre — in which Hamas terrorists murdered more than 1,400 Israelis, most of whom were civilians — SJP released a “toolkit” that refers to the terrorist attacks as “the resistance” and states: “Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.”

In response to the blatant support for terrorism, Brandeis University has banned the student group from campus.

“SJP has called on its chapters to engage in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world and its people,” a Brandeis University spokesperson told The Hill.

The spokesperson went on to explain that the university is not banning support for Palestine, just that specific group over its clear support for Hamas.

“Such expression is not protected by Brandeis’ principles of free speech,” the spokesperson wrote in the statement. “Students are welcome to express their support for Palestinians in a manner that complies with our rights and responsibilities.”

Located just west of Boston, Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community “at a time when Jews and other ethnic and racial minorities, and women, faced discrimination in higher education,” according to the university’s website.

Brandeis also sent a letter to their chapter of SJP to explain the decision to ban them from campus, which was later published by the Jewish Insider.

“This decision was not made lightly, as Brandeis is dedicated to upholding free speech principles, which have been codified in Brandeis’ Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression,” the letter read.

The letter went on to state that Brandeis’ free speech principles do not allow individuals to say “whatever they wish, wherever they wish, or however, they wish” — as they allow the university to restrict expression that constitutes a “genuine threat or harassment” or expression that is otherwise “directly incompatible with the functioning of the university.”

The university also explained in the letter that any student who participates in conduct expressing support for Hamas “will be considered to be in violation of the University’s student code of conduct” — though students who want to express support for Palestinian civilians will be allowed to form a new student group.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has criticized the decision — claiming that Brandeis is “punishing its students for nothing more than protected political advocacy.”

While Brandeis is the first private university to ban an SJP chapter, state colleges in Florida have already banned the group from their campuses after Florida officials ordered state universities and colleges to disband any SJP student organizations.

The move came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) directed Chancellor of the State University System of Florida Ray Rodrigues to issue notices to both the University of Florida and the University of South Florida ordering them to decertify their chapters of SJP over their violation of Florida’s terrorism laws — as state law prohibits “knowingly” providing “material support” to a “designated foreign terrorist organization.”