web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


CUNY Claim of No Constitutional Violations at BC BDS Event Flawed

The standard for judging whether constitutional rights can be abrogated is not, as the Investigators claimed in their Report, based on sincerity, but on whether or not, at the very least, there was a reasonable belief that the Four were about to disrupt the BC BDS event. The Investigators stated clearly that there was no such reasonable belief at the time the Four were ejected from the event. Doesn't this mean the Investigators drew the wrong conclusion?

Brooklyn College BDS forum, Feb. 7, 2013

Brooklyn College BDS forum, Feb. 7, 2013
Photo Credit: Facebook

And yet, the Investigators wrote without further discussion that, “any conclusion about a discriminatory motive would be speculative.” (R. p. 33)

Instead, for factual and legal reasons they did not identify, the Investigators chose to “credit the sincerity, even if it was mistaken” of Guzman that a disturbance was about to happen, despite their own determination “nothing the four students had done gave rise to a reasonable fear that a disturbance was about to erupt.”

Having made the curious decision that Guzman’s claim of sincerity for his belief that the four expelled students constituted a threat of disruption for the meeting, the Investigators made the equally troubling decision to conclude that such sincerity is, as a legal matter, enough to immunize Brooklyn College from liability – and enough to strip the Four students of their constitutional rights.

There are three problems with those choices.

First, Carlo Guzman was neither objective nor motivated to ensure that the full panoply of viewpoints had equal access to the forum he was running.  In fact, not a BC student at all, he was one of the central originators and organizers of the BC BDS event.  He is also a leader of Hunter College’s Students for Justice in Palestine, despite no longer being enrolled there. And Guzman was the sole source for what turned out to be unquestionably false – not just mistaken but false – claims made to BC officials and administrators, including the Investigators themselves that the Four were disruptive and interfering with the BDS event. And the Investigators recognized this because they concluded that Guzman’s alleged concern about a disruption was “not reasonable.”

Second, Guzman’s accounts of events were fatally inconsistent with one another, and they were fatally inconsistent with every single other report of what happened at the event.  These inconsistencies make it completely unreasonable for the Investigators to believe in Guzman’s sincerity.  Put it this way: if Guzman were on a witness stand, the inconsistencies between his different accounts, and between his accounts and everyone else’s, would make cross-examining him a trial lawyer’s dream.

The lawyers who led this Investigation are undoubtedly experienced enough to know that.  And that makes their decision to rely on Guzman’s credibility all the more strange.

And third, even if the Investigators naively chose to believe that Carlos Guzman was sincere in believing “a disturbance was about to erupt,” they are wrong, based upon the law governing political viewpoint discrimination, in concluding that such a belief justified the removal of the four pro-Israel students – especially when the Investigators themselves recognized that any such belief, sincere or otherwise, was not reasonable.  And that makes their determination that there was no constitutional violation quite difficult to accept.

What follows describes the Feb. 7 BC BDS event, focusing specifically on the ejection of the four Jewish pro-Israel students.

INITIAL REPORTS

The Feb. 7 Brooklyn College BDS event was held in a relatively small lecture room.  Alex Kane, a reporter for the anti-Zionist blog MondoWeiss, who attended the BDS event reported that night that the event “came and went without a hitch.” Kane was interviewed the next day by a reporter from the ardently anti-Israel Electronic Intifada. He told the interviewer that “the event really went off without any problems.”

Another anti-Zionist journalist who was present at the event, Lisa Goldman, ridiculed the “right wing” pre-event build-up.

“And after all that, the event turned out to be a non-event. An audience of about 300 people sat quietly and listened to Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti speak, which they did — without interruption” wrote Goldman in +972.

The same descriptions of an event free from disturbance also came from the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Oops.

So why were four Jewish pro-Israel Brooklyn College students ejected from the event?

REPORTS OF THE FOUR’S OUSTER, BASED UPON SJP MEMBER CLAIMS

The initial reports blamed the expulsion of The Four on the behavior of the students themselves. Interviews with Brooklyn College officials immediately after the event stated that those students were tossed out because they were vocal, disruptive and belligerant.  This was from a report of an interview of a Brooklyn College spokesperson the day after the event:

My understanding is that these students were in the room along with the rest of the audience. From the first speaker they began to speak out, they were becoming vocal and disruptive to the members around them and one of the student organizers of the event went to them and said ‘you really need to be quiet you’re disrupting other people around you.’ They then did not comply and a couple of police officers asked them to come out into the lobby.’ Thompson also claimed that school officials in attendance, including Morales, confirmed this account.

Once word got out that the Four were ejected from the event for creating a “disturbance,” the revisionism began.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “CUNY Claim of No Constitutional Violations at BC BDS Event Flawed”

  1. Stan Brin says:

    Anybody stupid enough to expect a different opinion?

  2. Gil Gilman says:

    No!

  3. Gil Gilman says:

    This report reminds me of a Mark Twain quote, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." I leave it to you the reader to prove that the 36 page report doesn't fall under all three categories.

  4. Alan Kardon says:

    This is a publicly funded school. Why are we hearing that it was run by incompetent people. Let some heads roll and get better administrators.

  5. An incompetently run event is bad enough. A politically slanted event is worse, though not exactly a big surprise. BUT — a report by intelligent lawyers, at a fancy law firm, paid, no doubt, lots of tax dollars do to their 36 page legal analysis — for such a report to get the law WRONG? That's a big problem.

    I hope the students whose rights were violated have read this article, and the report, and that they are prepared to do something about it. This being America, the thing to do when your rights are violated is to hold the violators to account. In court.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As I listen to the Boston events today the uncle of the bombers said that they were not raised like this. He said they must have been radicalized elsewhere. My first thought was that they probably went to a BDS event on campus. This is why BDS, and other hate organizations, should be kept off campuses.

    This is what Karen Gould, BC President doesn't understand. This wasn't about free speech. This was about prevention of violence.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Photo of Al Qaeda founder and former leader, Osama Bin Laden, seen above a Palestinian Authority flag.
Shin Bet Sting Nabs Israeli Arabs Joining Al Qaeda, ISIS
Latest News Stories
Photo of Al Qaeda founder and former leader, Osama Bin Laden, seen above a Palestinian Authority flag.

A Shin Bet sting nabs Arab Israelis after returning from Syria where they join Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked terror groups — a whole group this month.

Israeli election workers count remaining ballots from soldiers and absentees at the Knesset in Jerusalem

That’s it. If you didn’t register your party by now, you’re not running for the upcoming Knesset elections.

Explosion in El-Arish, in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, Jan. 29, 2015.

Simultaneous explosions in Egypt killed and wounded dozens Thursday night.

Undecided voters may be the only one who might change the poll results.

National religious voters favoring the new Yachad party headed by Eli Yishai may be wasting their votes.

ISIS threatens to behead Obama, turn the U.S. into a Muslim province, and destroy France and Belgium.

Locked in Auschwitz, their cries for assistance were not heard, so they escaped through an open window, setting off an alarm.

Hezbollah is a terrorist group and terrorist party, but most and worst of all, it is a huge and powerful army.

Lieberman’s issues a disproportionate response to polls that show his party will barely squeeze into the Knesset.

Boehner criticized President Obama for failing to take the threat of terrorism and the Iranian nuclear threat seriously.

US Treasury Secy Jack Lew contends that French Jews really want to stay in France. They just want to be safe too.

It is also still not clear whether the main issue of the election will be security or economics.

El-Sisi has embarked on an ambitious plan to destroy Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure underneath the Egyptian-Gaza border.

Israeli food makers are getting nervous about Israeli taste buds being Americanized.

Now the Secret Service needs a device to disable drunken government workers who fly drones at 1600 Pennsylvania.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warns at a memorial for late PM Ariel Sharon that Iran has already begun its war against Israel.

“Not wanting to stir things up in the north” means “Yes, we could bomb them to kingdom come, but. no, we won’t.”

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Explosion in El-Arish, in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, Jan. 29, 2015.

Simultaneous explosions in Egypt killed and wounded dozens Thursday night.

ISIS murderers threatening Obama

ISIS threatens to behead Obama, turn the U.S. into a Muslim province, and destroy France and Belgium.

One American, a former Marine, dead in ISIS-affiliate’s terrorist attack on Libyan luxury hotel.

Chicago-style campaigning lands in Israel. Who and what is running this “non-partisan” campaign? Paging Lois Lerner!

Reports that Bowe Bergdahl to be charged with desertion. Five Gitmo prisoners released for his freedom.

Ari Ne’eman, a pioneer in autism self-advocacy, awarded the Ruderman Prize in Inclusion.

French far-rightist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen suffered a facial injury.

Israeli President Ruvy Rivlin met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/cuny-claim-of-no-constitutional-violations-at-bc-bds-event-flawed/2013/04/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: