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Professor tells students she’s canceling class ‘in solidarity’ with anti-Israel boycott

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

A professor at the University of Virginia (UVA) told her students she was canceling classes Monday in support of an anti-Israel boycott at the school, according to an email obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

UVA Apartheid Divest, a coalition of UVA student groups, is supporting a referendum calling on the school to divest endowment funds from companies profiting from Israel. The group held a “Yes on Divest Walkout” Monday; Christa Robbins, an associate professor of art history at UVA, told students she was canceling class “in solidarity” with the walkout.

“I’m writing to let you know that I am canceling class today in solidarity with the ‘Yes on Divest Walkout’ that the UVA Apartheid Divest Coalition organized. I realize this issue is polarizing right now, so I want to take a moment to let you know why I made this choice,” Robbins wrote in a Monday email to students.

Robbins then explained that she had the class watch several pro-Palestinian videos and that her sympathies were with the “people of Palestine.”

“My decision to cancel class comes from my own sympathies with the people of Palestine and out of a desire to see them live freely,” Robbins said in the email.

The referendum, put on by UVA Apartheid Divest, calls on UVA to submit to an “auditing process” which would determine how much of the university’s endowment funds are invested in companies “engaging in or profiting from the State of Israel’s apartheid regime and acute violence against Palestinians.” It then calls for the divestment of such funds.

“Ultimately” the referendum “has no enforceable power,” Luke Lamberson, UVA Board of Elections chair, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

No changes would occur to the endowment without the initiation of the Board of Visitors, the university’s governing board, Lamberson said.

Several students recently asked UVA administrators to do more to combat anti-Israel activities on campus.

“There are students who have been spat upon, shoved, that have called horrible names, antisemitic slurs,” said atorrney Joel Nied, who accompanied the students.

“There’s one kid that has been so intimidated by students in his dorm, for peace of mind he has to move off campus and sleep elsewhere and stop wearing his Yamika. Other kids when they walk by these protests, they feel they need to tuck their jewelry, their Jewish stars into their sweaters and shirts so no one sees them,” Nied continued.

Students and colleges around the U.S. have seen a rise in pro-Palestinian activism and acts of antisemitism on campus since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.

Several elite colleges resorted to creating antisemitism task forces due to a rise in anti-Israel activities on their campuses, including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Columbia University. Many pro-Palestinian student groups at universities around the U.S. have used anti-Israel slogans such as “From the River to the Sea,” which call for the elimination of Israel.

UVA and Robbins did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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