Reject Governor Abbott's Discriminatory and Anti-Palestinian Executive Order

University Administrators and Governor Gregory Abbott

Join students across Texas to reject Governor Greg Abbott's Discriminatory and Anti-Palestinian Executive Order.

Petition by
SJP UTDallas
Richardson, Texas

To: University Administrators and Governor Gregory Abbott
From: [Your Name]

Yesterday, March 27, 2024, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed a discriminatory and anti-Palestinian Executive Order "Relating to addressing acts of antisemitism in institutions of higher education." This Executive Order mandates Texas universities to "Review and update free speech policies" to address Palestinian organizing on Texas university campuses. We, the undersigned Palestine solidarity organizations on campus, recognize this mischaracterization of our political organizing as nothing less than arbitrary censorship of our just movement. We condemn the racist campaign being launched in violation of our state and federal constitutions and reaffirm our commitment to fight for the liberation of Palestine on our campuses and communities.

Governor Abbott's Executive Order expressly targets student organizations—Students for Justice in Palestine (SJPs) and Palestine Solidarity Committees (PSCs)—attempting to stifle speech by intimidating students and campus administration. Tens of thousands of students have organized their communities to protest and demand their institutions divest from Israel’s genocide. By misrepresenting pro-Palestinian demands for justice, he tarnishes the reputation of Palestinian and other pro-Palestinian activists while claiming to protect students rights. The Governor is aware that student-led organizing for Palestinian freedom is a rapidly growing movement across our connected Texas campuses and he seeks to silence our voices.

When confronted with the strength, momentum, and mass support of our movement, the Governor has leveraged the highest level of state action to suppress our activism. He is resorting to racist misrepresentations to justify the blatantly discriminatory violation of our First Amendment right. There is no real, legal, or moral basis for their censorship. Our right to demand accountability for our institution’s complicity in genocide and to advocate for the freedom of the people in Gaza is protected speech.

In the past six months, state and university institutions across the country have waged a censorship campaign against student organizers for demanding an end to Israel's genocide. These students have faced public condemnation and threats of de-chartering for their speech. The vilification of these student leaders are not short of racist targeting and political repression. We see the Executive Order for what it is—a masked, targeted attack to slow the student movement for liberation across the nation’s college campuses. From Florida's illegal barring of SJPs, to Columbia University’s dismissal of hate crimes against pro-Palestine students, to George Washington University’s unjustly targeting of SJP leadership, and now Texas. United States institutions are trying to quell a movement that is political, righteous, and far larger than the sum of its parts.

This violation is an attempt to distract from our righteous message, and what is most important, stopping the ongoing genocide and ending the siege on Gaza. Since early October, Israel—backed by the U.S.— has slaughtered over 32,000 Palestinians, severely injured tens of thousands of people, and is actively placing over one million Palestinians at risk of starvation and death under their siege. Israel has destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, hospitals, and holy sites, forcing Palestinians to flee to so-called “safe zones” while subjecting them to raids, kidnappings, and endless bombardment. We will not let this executive order stop us. We will not stop until our people and homeland are free. We will not stop fighting against the worst colonial violence many of us have seen in our lifetimes. We will not stop pushing for the end of university complicity in this genocide.

We, a united movement across the state of Texas for Palestinian liberation, call on the people of consciousness to join us in rejecting Executive Order No. GA-44 for its violation of the First Amendment rights of all Texas students to demand freedom for Palestine.

Students, let us not hesitate in our efforts nor allow this scare tactic to distract us. Neighbors, we ask for your support against the State’s discriminatory suppression. Sign this petition and join us in demanding that our administration reject Abbott's demand.

The University Administrators, we call on you to protect your student body and their constitutional rights. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Governor Abbott will request you violate the rights of your students and faculty. This past year alone, Abbott has demanded for the end to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs at our schools—programs that are vital to the health, growth, and free exchange of ideas among our students. We implore you not to let Abbott use his power to override what you know is best for your students. Take a stand in support of your pro-Palestinian, Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students by standing against the Governor’s attempt to limit speech, association, and freedom.