A Jewish New York University student was ousted from his position in student government following his introduction of a resolution condemning terrorism.
Justin Feldman, a Jewish student at New York University (NYU), was removed from his position in student government this December after having previously introduced a resolution in the Student Government Assembly “Condemning the Endorsement, Promotion, or Excusing of Civilian-Murder (Terrorism) in Academia.”
The resolution resolved, among other measures, that the Student Government Assembly “[s]trongly and unequivocally condemns all acts of intentional civilian-murder, by any means, and in any case worldwide, for the sake of instilling overwhelming human fear and coercing political gains [emphasis in the original] . . . Stands in solidarity with innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians,” and “[r]eaffirms its commitment to the values of human rights, justice, and diplomacy and the right to criticize any government or entity.” The resolution also called for several measures to combat anti-Semitism on campus.
Feldman claims to have been “one of the only Jewish students in NYU’s student government” in an article for Jewish Journal. He continued, saying that the student government not only rejected his resolution, he was “also singled out by my council president for removal [from the Graduate Student Council] weeks later – simply for voicing opposition to extremist support for terror on campus.”
“I, myself, became the target of clear double standards for humanizing myself and my Jewish community,” he wrote [emphasis in the original].
In an interview with Campus Reform, Feldman said he was ousted following a vote that included “six votes in favor [of his removal], three votes, including myself, against, three abstentions, and one person who did not vote at all.”
He added that only 13 students cast votes in the removal procedure, “meaning that less than half of all attending council members voted to remove me so it was not technically a simple majority.”
Feldman claimed that “[t]he bylaws and constitution were modified secretly by the [Graduate Student Council] president, Betty Lincoln, who wrote an agenda item for my removal. The clauses that were modified include the articles related to removing a person from their position. The original constitution that is publicly accessible . . . states that you need three members of the Council to initiate a [no-confidence] vote to remove someone. That was removed from the bylaws and this was done secretly, no one ratified it, no one voted to update these bylaws on that section. So this was done secretly . . . conveniently a day before I was notified of my removal.”
Asked if he believed that his being Jewish and a Zionist had to do with his treatment at the hands of the student government, Feldman told Campus Reform: “A hundred percent. Absolutely.”
Ryan Carney, the Student Government Assembly Chair, told Campus Reform: “Given the vote, we are working to ensure that the process was fair and followed bylaws and rules accordingly.”
Feldman stated to Campus Reform that, as he was introducing his resolution, he “confirmed very closely with Ryan Carney . . . that I was following procedures and regulations.”
Speaking of his resolution condemning terrorism, Feldman told Campus Reform that “the main reason . . . my resolution didn’t pass was because it implicated a number of student groups, not by name, but the links basically called out the support for Hamas and terrorism on our campus through faculty and student groups.”
Though Feldman’s resolution was rejected, he stated in his Jewish Journal article that “various antisemitic resolutions” were passed, linking to a resolution to “[r]eaffirm Protection of Pro-Palestine Speech and Civic Activity on Campus,” which passed with “overwhelming support,” as reported by Washington Square News.
Feldman’s removal has been challenged, with NYU spokesperson John Beckman saying his ousting “has been held in abeyance,” adding: “Mr. Feldman’s allegations about the Graduate Student Council’s conduct are very concerning and if determined to be true, the Council will have acted inappropriately. In accordance with its long-standing policies and procedure, the University has initiated a thorough investigation of Mr. Feldman’s complaint,” according to a Feb. 1 story on Jewish Link.
Campus Reform has reached out to NYU and the Graduate Student Council of NYU for comment. The article will be updated accordingly.
Republished with permission from Campus Reform