Ed. Note: This story has been updated.
By Jackson Richman
A scheduled vote on a student association resolution at George Washington University calling on the school to divest its interests from Israel was canceled on Monday due to security concerns by the university’s police department, as announced by the student association shortly before the session.
Previously, there was no documented case of a student government meeting to vote on a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution canceled.
Immediately following the announcement, the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter protested outside the student senate office.
On Tuesday, the student association released a statement explaining the decision to cancel the vote. “Despite repeated requests made by the Student Association to the GW Division of Safety & Security, GW Police Department (GWPD) rejected all requests for posted security at Monday’s meeting,” the said.
“We had to prioritize the safety of Palestinian students and their allies, who have been targeted by outside organizations and members of our community,” the SA continued. “Posters, sponsored social media posts, and anonymous emails by blacklist sites and organizations were intended to condemn Palestinian students and their allies. These incidents are particularly threatening, given the discrimination and marginalization [that] Palestinian students face daily.”
They added, “We are not willing to put these students in harm’s way.”
Allegedly, posters from the website Canary Mission, which exposes people in higher education who have partaken in anti-Israel activity, were featured throughout the campus, “intimidating students,” according to a statement from the student group GW for Israel (GWI), condemning the fliers.
“Canary Mission is a smear campaign that undermines both the values of our organization and the greater Jewish community,” GWI said. “We hope SA senators feel comfortable voting on paper ballots as they believe will best safeguard GW’s academic integrity and the protection of all students [emphasis theirs].”
“Canary Mission does not poster campuses,” the organization told The National Discourse. “Individuals have in the past used our material to do so, without our involvement.”
“GW for Israel should actually read profiles on Canary Mission,” the organization added. “Canary Mission documents individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses. Canary Mission investigates hatred across the entire political spectrum, including the far right, far left and anti-Israel activists.”
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, amid their sit-in protest, GW SJP released a statement condemning the cancelation, along with announcing that the vote on the BDS resolution will be next Monday.
“Rescheduling the vote was one of our top priorities, along with a statement from the Student Association explicitly explaining why the initial meeting was cancelled,” the group said. “Palestinians and pro-Palestine organizers, through their efforts during the sit-in, have had a significant impact on this outcome, and their efforts must be commended.”
The organization added, “In recognition of the Student Association’s statement, a proper security detail is crucial to ensuring the safety and security of Palestinian and pro-Palestine students on campus in speaking before the SA Senate.”