skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Silencing dissent: Where can students debate Israel-Palestinian conflict?

play audio
Play

Friday, March 22, 2024   

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, students find it hard to freely express opinions as universities shut down groups due to political tensions and accusations of antisemitism.

John Ocampo, an undergrad at Florida State University, was part of Students for Justice in Palestine on campus, which no longer exists. He explained they faced challenges even before Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state system got involved.

He pointed out the group was not registered due to students being "doxed" on sites targeting people seen as anti-Israel or anti-Jewish.

"My email has been hacked, my CashApp, my WhatsApp, everything," Ocampo recounted. "That's what really discouraged people from continuing this, because our personal social medias, our personal lives, and even our bank accounts are all at risk."

Ocampo noted students pushing for peace or advocating for a ceasefire were unfairly labeled as "antisemitic." He highlights the case of Students for a Democratic Society, suspended after members chanted pro-Palestinian slogans at a Board of Trustees meeting in November. The university said it supports rigorous debate and assembly but students may not disrupt university business.

Will Hanley, associate professor of history at Florida State, said the clampdown affects both student organizations and his teaching of Middle Eastern History.

"I feel really restricted in what I can do," Hanley explained. "I certainly don't feel like I can organize talks or discussions where students will feel safe exploring ideas."

Hanley urged state education officials to foster environments where students can freely debate, make mistakes and engage in learning from diverse perspectives, regardless of agreement.

This week, University of South Florida students launched a hunger strike to protest the school's alleged investments in pro-Israel companies, a claim the university denies. Initially planned by Students for Socialism, the effort faced a cease-and-desist letter from university officials. So students came together with no affiliation to any campus group to hold the strike.

Ocampo acknowledged it is challenging to organize under such conditions.

"There's no set meeting space," Ocampo pointed out. "The places that you're at are not ideal, and it doesn't seem like it's a huge deal, but it really starts to fracture the organizing over time."

Students for Justice in Palestine on two Florida campuses have filed lawsuits after their closure. However, a federal judge denied injunctions on First Amendment grounds, stating students had not demonstrated chilled speech or imminent punishment. The legal challenges are ongoing.

References:  
Survey Hillel 11/20/2023

get more stories like this via email
more stories
Several Mississippi correctional facilities offer both short-term (12 weeks) and long-term (six months) alcohol and drug programs with individual and group counseling for treating alcohol and drug addictions. (Wesley JvR/peopleimages.com)

Social Issues

play sound

Mississippi prisons often lack resources to treat people who are incarcerated with substance-use disorders adequately but a nonprofit organization is …


Social Issues

play sound

April is Second Chance Month and many Nebraskans are celebrating passage of a bipartisan voting rights restoration bill and its focus on second chance…

Health and Wellness

play sound

New Mexico saw record enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act this year and is now setting its sights on lowering out-of-pocket costs - those n…


Migrants are put on buses from Texas to other states, often without knowing where they are going. (afishman64/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The future of Senate Bill 4 is still tangled in court challenges. It's the Texas law that would allow police to arrest people for illegally crossing …

Social Issues

play sound

Residents in a rural North Carolina town grappling with economic challenges are getting a pathway to homeownership. In Enfield, the average annual …

Social Issues

play sound

A new poll finds a near 20-year low in the number of voters who say they have a high interest in the 2024 election, with a majority saying they hold …

Social Issues

play sound

A case before the U.S. Supreme Court could have implications for the country's growing labor movement. Justices will hear oral arguments in Starbucks …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021