Editor’s note: This post was written by WLRN reporter Tasnim Shamma; see response from FAU below.
About 200 students at three residential dormitories of the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University returned home last Friday to find mock eviction notices posted on their doors.
The notice said they had three days to collect their belongings or be arrested.
The group, Students for Justice in Palestine, was trying to bring attention to home demolitions in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Christine Capozziello, a sophomore at FAU, says while the event didn’t generate a lot of buzz on campus, it did raise awareness.
“It was kind of shocking what they told me, I had no idea that was going on,” Capozziello said. “They said that people in Palestine were being evicted so that building could go on for Israel.”
Capozziello accompanied the activists as they put up the notices to take photos for the student paper, The University Press. Housing department staff members escorted the students as they put up the notices, according to Noor Fawzy, president of Students for Justice in Palestine. The student group received permission from FAU’s housing department to post fliers in residential areas, which upset some students, including members of the campus-based Hillel.
The executive director of the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach, Scott Brockman, posted a note on the center’s Facebook page saying the Hillel was taking steps to understand why the flier was approved by the Housing department in the first place.
“While Hillel supports free speech and champions civil discourse on campus we will not sit idly by when Israel is singled out, delegitimized and demonized,” Brockman wrote. “We all deserve our campuses to be warm and welcome communities for Jewish students and ALL others.”
Dr. Charles L. Brown, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at FAU, sent this response:
The University has received a number of inquiries following the recent posting of mock eviction notices in certain FAU residence halls. The University, as an institution of higher education, prides itself on being a venue for free expression, regardless of viewpoint. However, the distribution of printed material on University property is subject to FAU policy and regulation. These policies require that printed material be distributed only at reasonable times and places and in reasonable manners. These policies are designed to ensure that the manner in which material is distributed is consistent with the educational mission of the University, its uninterrupted orderly operation, the safety of the University community, and the protection of University property and that of its students, faculty and staff.
The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed.