Hold the Rutgers Administration Accountable!

October 12, 2023

In a statement released yesterday, University President Holloway voiced his overt political stance of unqualified support for Israel that reifies the mainstream media’s worst racist and decontextualized talking points about recent events. Moreover, in a securitization of Palestinian students, who are grieving and have been subject to national war mongering and targeting, Holloway announced plans to close the road where our protest was planned to take place, forcing a mass police presence (campus police, city police, and state police) on our community. The campus-wide alert released yesterday which named our event as a rally/protest unnecessarily exposed us to antagonistic parties on a national scale.

To start, President Holloway explicitly took a pro-Israel stance by only naming in detail the violence enacted on Israelis and by attending a vigil put on by the Rutgers Hillel without giving the same support to his Palestinian students. Although he included Gaza in his “mourning” at the end of his statement, he once again neglected to acknowledge, let alone show sympathy for, the Palestinian community during a time in which we have experienced more than 1,200 casualties within a span of four days. He did not even name us: Palestinians. His statement endorses Rutgers Hillel’s vigil mourning Israeli settler deaths, but fails to make any equivalent mention of Palestinian casualties or IDF war crimes that included cutting off electricity to Palestinians in Gaza, denying them a humanitarian corridor, striking refugee camps, medics, and hospitals. In Holloway’s view, Palestinians do not deserve mourning, only Israelis do; Israeli sympathizers are promised spaces that ensure their safety and protection to grieve and heal, but Palestinians are not.

Furthermore, Holloway insists on using Islamophobic rhetoric to stoke fear of Palestinians and justify the violence against our communities. He reduces the Palestinian effort against Israeli apartheid to ‘Hamas terrorism’ and fails to recognize the historical context behind the ongoing Palestinian struggle: colonialism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing that has killed or expelled millions of Palestinians from their homeland. In doing so, Palestinians are framed as fanatical, irrational, barbaric, and bloodthirsty as opposed to imperfect victims fighting for freedom. Finally, Holloway made implied threats of RUPD intervention at our planned protest by writing that he is working with RUPD to maintain campus safety “in light of the tensions these events have caused.” After his adoption of an explicitly Zionist stance and ignoring mass Palestinian death, how are we meant to interpret this if not as a threat, and confirmation that Holloway views Palestinians as dangerous? He refuses to acknowledge Palestinian humanity and threatens our non-white community with RUPD, a faction of America’s historically-proven racist police force. Whether he acknowledges us or not, Palestibians are part of Halloway’s “Beloved community.” We deserve as much care from our university as anyone else. We deserve safety, respect, and the ability to mourn our dead.

In light of this egregious behavior from the administration, SJP cannot confidently and safely hold our event originally scheduled for today. We fear that in doing so we would place our community members at risk and put them in danger of police surveillance and violence, in addition to potential altercations with supporters of Israel emboldened by President Holloway’s statement and outside groups who doxx students who support Palestine. Given RUPD’s history with supporters of Palestine on our campus, we do not feel that they will protect us as much as they will supporters of Israel. We make this hard decision knowing that we are taking all steps possible to ensure the safety of our community members. If any altercations do occur, despite our careful steps to ensure the safety of our community members, we hold the Rutgers administration accountable for unleashing this danger on their own students.

To read our full statement, see here:

To read President Holloway's statement, see here: https://www.rutgers.edu/president/a-message-in-these-troubling-times