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Sang Hea Kil, a justice studies professor and faculty advisor for Students for Justice in Palestine at San José State University.

Sang Hea Kil, a San José State University justice studies professor and faculty advisor for Students for Justice in Palestine, was placed on a temporary suspension last Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The suspension letter issued to Kil cited Article 17 of the collective bargaining agreement between California State University and California Faculty Association as the basis for the disciplinary action, saying, “Per Article 17, you are suspended for reasons related to the disruption of programs and/or operations, the safety of persons or property, and investigation for formal notice of disciplinary action.”


The letter also accused Kil of violating institutional policies through unprofessional and exploitative behavior toward students. Specifically, it alleged that Kil had instructed students to violate university regulations and had engaged in harassing and offensive conduct and comments directed at colleagues, both individually and as a group. The letter characterized Kil’s actions as unprofessional and unbecoming of a member of the university community.

According to an April 25 email from the university provided to Inside Higher Ed by Kil, she was under investigation after it was reported that she “engaged in behavior that disrupted the university’s business operations and encouraged students to do the same” during a protest held in Sweeney Hall. This appears to be about the intense protest in February in which Kil and Students for Justice in Palestine objected to a visit by the Jewish studies director from another California State University campus, who had stated that the situation in Gaza does not constitute genocide.

Additionally, an “amended notice of investigation” that Kil provided also mentions a May 8 protest “on and around the Smith and Carlos Lawn” on the university’s campus. The university is investigating Kil’s involvement in multiple protests, accusing her of disrupting operations and encouraging students to participate in disruptive actions as well.

The CSU Student Divestment Coalition, a group of students advocating for schools to end financial support for companies doing business with Israel, attacked SJSU’s decision to suspend Kil, saying, “We demand the full reinstatement of Dr. Kil, and for [Senior Associate Vice President Joanne] Wright to take all actions necessary to reverse Dr. Kil’s suspension. Further, we demand that SJSU not take any further actions against students or faculty who are engaged in expressions of their First Amendment rights.”

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