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More than 125 CUNY faculty, staff sign statement objecting to chancellor’s opposition to pro-Hamas protests

More than 125 faculty and staff members at the City University of New York signed onto a statement released Tuesday that objects to Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez’s efforts to distance the university system from any student group demonstrations endorsing the Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel.

In the statement, the CUNY faculty and staff said they “strongly object” to Rodríguez’s attempts to “censure expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people” in the wake of pro-Palestinian campus organizations participating in protests celebrating Hamas’ surprise attack.

More than 4,200 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas terrorists launched their attack against the Jewish State on October 7, leading to retaliatory action from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.

The statement comes after Rodríguez said in a letter on October 9 “unequivocally” condemning Hamas’ acts of terrorism that the CUNY community “wholeheartedly reject the participation of organizations affiliated with CUNY in demonstrations that glorify Saturday’s violence and celebrate the killings, injuries and capture of innocent people.” The chancellor added, “We respect their right to free speech but condemn their support of these crimes against humanity.”

The statement by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups was later deleted after student organizations began removing their signatures amid bipartisan backlash and some CEOs demanding the names of the students who signed it.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R. Ark., has urged the Department of Homeland Security to deport foreign nationals, including those on student visas, who have expressed support for Hamas.

“As CUNY staff and faculty, we applaud all those in our community who refuse to remain silent in the face of an impending genocide,” the statement from the CUNY staff and faculty reads. “We stand with them in opposition to Israeli occupation, apartheid, and war crimes, and in support of Palestinian liberation. We bear witness as CUNY administrators have caused students, staff, and faculty to be silenced, vilified and even criminalized when they speak or act in support of Palestinian struggles.”

“We pledge to stand up to CUNY management’s attempts to censor dissent,” the statement continues. “We demand that the Chancellor, campus presidents, and all those in leadership positions end the repression and intimidation of Palestine solidarity activists and fulfill our responsibility to equally protect the rights of all members of CUNY.”

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