Students meet with President Schlissel, present demands

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 6:08pm

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Michigan in Color

On Oct. 30, 2018, the Office of the President of the University of Michigan solicited a group of student leaders for a meeting. In my capacity as a communication liaison for the newly formed collective Direct Action for Palestine, which organized the graduate student letter which was presented to the Office of the President and Office of the Interim Dean of LSA, I was tasked with presenting the following list of demands to University President Mark Schlissel. Additionally, a copy of the demands was shared with E. Royster Harper, vice president of Student Life, who was also in attendance. Though the demands were not the main focus of the discussion, the intention to publish them and pursue action in support of the demands was clearly articulated at the end of the meeting. Schlissel expressed contention with being presented with demands, but seemed open to discussing their content during the upcoming meeting being scheduled with graduate students who signed the graduate student letter of support for Prof. Cheney-Lippold. After the meeting, the students in attendance and I agreed to work towards publishing a briefing of our meeting with Schlissel and Harper.

 

The full text of the demands can be found below.

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Direct Action for Palestine

List of Demands

We issue the following demands to President Mark Schlissel and the Regents of the University of Michigan on threat of their publication and an escalation of action until a commitment for their full implementation is made.

We call on representatives of the University of Michigan to issue such a commitment to implement the following demands in their entirety publicly and in writing.

We call on the president of the university to delegate the tasks required to implement these demands to the relevant university bodies with the institutional power to implement them in a time frame mutually agreed upon by the president and members of Direct Action for Palestine.

  1. We demand divestment of all university monies from companies targeted by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement called on by representatives of Palestinian civil society organizations, and desist from future investments in these companies until they are no longer implicated in the maintenance of the colonization and occupation of Palestine.

  2. We demand that the university end all partnerships with Israeli academic institutions and the state of Israel, including all study abroad programs to Israel, and that the university desist from forming new partnerships of this kind.

  3. We demand that the university commit to publicly supporting, advocating for, and offering funds and resources for the legal protection of members of the university community – including all students, faculty, lecturers, alumni, and staff – targeted by Canary Mission and similar blacklists which target individuals, organizations, and institutions for working towards Palestinian liberation and justice.

  4. We demand that the university disband the panel which it has unilaterally created in response to the withdrawal of the consent of two university instructors to write letter of recommendations for requesting students seeking to study abroad in Israel.

  5. We demand that the university drop all sanctions against Dr. John Cheney-Lippold and graduate student Lucy Peterson and desist from imposing any other sanctions relating to the above matter.

  6. We demand that any disciplinary action brought against Cheney-Lippold and Peterson for any matter during the rest of their time at the University of Michigan be thoroughly reviewed in order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no attempts at retaliation or retribution concerning the above incident motivates any actions taken against them.

  7. We demand a public written apology from President Mark Schlissel concerning his libel in manipulating facts in his September 20, 2018 statement that, “No academic department or any other unit at the University of Michigan has taken a stance that departs from this long-held university position [of opposition to any boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education],” as he fails to acknowledge that university protocol would not allow departments or units to publicly issue such stances at departmental level without approval at the college level, as this serves as a prohibitive barrier for any attempt to publicly take such a stance.

  8. We demand a public written apology for the following inflammatory university communications:

    1. President Mark Schlissel’s September 20, 2018 statement

    2. Mark Schlissel and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Martin Philbert’s October 9, 2018 letter

    3. Interim Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Elizabeth Cole’s letter reprimanding and sanctioning Dr. John Cheney-Lippold