Student group Direct Action for Palestine takes over Blue Ribbon Panel

This is from the January 13 edition of U of M's student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. Apparently the adults have completely given up control.

Direct Action for Palestine (DAP), a coalition of students, faculty and community members, formed “to organize for Palestinian liberation” in response to the Cheney-Lippold and Peterson letter of recommendation controversy, took control of the Blue Ribbon Panel Friday morning in protest of the panel and the University's sanctions addressing the controversy. The event, held at Pierpont Commons and attended by about 40 students and faculty members, was meant to be a continuation in a series of panels on the intersection between faculty responsibility and political thought.

Before the panel commenced the meeting, the DAP leader, who asked to be referred to by the pseudonym Rami Abdullah, took the microphone and turned his back on the panel, announcing to the audience that DAP was taking over the event.

In total, DAP’s protest featured 11 student speakers, explaining their objections to the panel and the University’s sanctions against Cheney-Lippold and Peterson, their support for theBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and their views on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. All DAP speakers wished to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns.

Before the speakers took the microphone, Abdullah read a list ofdemands DAP made for University President Mark Schlissel and the Board of Regents. Abdullah called for the dissolution of the Blue Ribbon Panel, the negation of sanctions against John Cheney-Lippold and Lucy Peterson and public apologies from Schlissel, University Provost Martin Philbert and Interim Dean Elizabeth Cole. In addition, the demands included the divestment of University monies from companies targeted by the BDS movement and an end to partnerships with Israeli academic institutions and study abroad programs, among others. Handouts with an abbreviated list of these demands and protest chants were also passed out to the audience members.

“Our plan is to work towards our demands,” Abdullah said. “We will continue to escalate actions until the University agrees to our demands.”

After Abdullah passed the microphone to the second DAP speaker, James Duderstadt, member of the Blue Ribbon Panel and president emeritus, asked Abdullah how many DAP members were in the audience and how long DAP students planned to speak.

“Since we have an open agenda, we need to allow other people to speak,” Duderstadt said.

Duderstadt’s questions were ignored, leading one audience member to shout at the second DAP speaker before walking out of the event.

In other words, members of the Blue Ribbon Panel rolled over and allowed their meeting to be co-opted by a bunch of bullies. You can and should read some of the idiotic statements and demands presented by DAP bullies that went uncontested by panel members.

How did panel members respond to being bullied? Exactly like you'd expect. They were completely cowed.

During the two-hour event, the panel members listened without comment as DAP speakers presented their views and lead the discussion. After Abdullah adjourned the event, Duderstadt spoke again, addressing DAP to thank them for facilitating a fruitful conversation.

“Let me also make a comment,” Duderstadt said. “First comment is to thank you very much because I think by taking over our meeting you actually triggered a dialogue which has taught us a great deal. Your voice is very important. This is an institution based on academic freedom and the freedom of speech, not just for faculty and staff but very much so for student groups such as yours.”

Duderstadt also clarified the panel is an independent body charged with providing input.

Is it my imagination, or is this "academic freedom" they keep mentioning only for those who yell the loudest and hate Israel the most?

NOTE: There have been previous meetings of this Blue Ribbon Panel that were not interrupted, but seemed to be absent of facts regarding Israel. Also reading past Michigan Daily articles, I have to ask where the pro-Israel voices are in this debate. Have they been silenced? Are pro-Israel students too afraid to speak up? We know there is a price to be paid for speaking out against campus Jew-hatred.