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Statement from UCSC Faculty for Justice in Palestine

by UCSC Faculty for Justice in Palestine
Announcing Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UC Santa Cruz

Following the urgent call to establish Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP) groups across U.S. campuses to support students under increasing threats and attacks, we at UC Santa Cruz have formed our own FJP. Faculty, staff, and students who work on and/or organize for Palestine are under increasing censure and censorship across U.S. campuses, including from their own administrations. We intend to protect our students–and each other–as we do this work. Our FJP work will include supporting Students for Justice in Palestine in their work, collaborating with students on direct actions, protecting faculty and graduate students under attack for making space to discuss Palestine in their classrooms, hosting events, and acting as liaisons for students experiencing harassment because they are perceived as Arab, Muslim, and/or pro-Palestinian. We will ensure the collective right to academic freedom for advocates of Palestine and combat attempts to equate the critique of the policies of a foreign state with antisemitism. We are inclusive of senate faculty, lecturers, staff, and graduate students and we look forward to organizing joint events and actions with other FJP groups across the Bay Area, California, and the country.


We, the undersigned, acknowledge that we are witnessing U.S.-backed Israeli genocidal violence against a dispossessed population in Gaza, escalating state-sponsored settler violence in the West Bank, heightened imprisonment and torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and imprisonment of the state’s own citizens, especially Palestinians, who have expressed concern or support for Palestinians in the other parts of Palestine. We watch in horror as Israeli bombs continue to rain down on Gaza, murdering over 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children: a bodycount that grows everyday. Following scholars of genocide, we note that Israeli War Minister Yoav Gallant has stated: “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly.” This dehumanization is meant to justify, in advance, the mass death—by bombing or by slowly ending life-giving sustenance—of 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. Thus far, Israeli airstrikes have destroyed hospitals, targeted first responders, murdered journalists, eradicated entire families, leveled neighborhoods, and demolished “safe routes” on which Palestinians were told to flee for their lives. It has been accompanied by Israel’s denying Palestinians in Gaza water, medicine, food, electricity, and fuel and destroying water, power, and telecommunications infrastructure. This most recent attack is the fifth bombardment in 15 years, perpetrated by one of the world’s most powerful militaries against a captive population, nearly half of whom are under eighteen, and the majority of whom are refugees from successive waves of displacement by Israeli settlement and ethnic cleansing since 1948. These war crimes are supported by U.S. tax dollars at the rate of $3.8 billion per year. Outraged, we note that our representatives continue to ignore the 66% of constituents in the U.S. who support a ceasefire.

As scholars, we also note that this is a moment of rampant misinformation and racist warmongering, perpetrated by government officials, administrators, and mainstream media outlets. We hold our administrations—and similar messaging by the mainstream U.S. media outlets—responsible for violence against protesters, teach-in attendees, and vigil participants in support of Palestinian freedom on campuses across the United States. Following the University of California Ethnic Studies Faculty Council, we affirm that this rhetorical violence generated by administrative bodies across multiple universities fosters a hostile learning environment for Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab students on our campuses who are reminded in these moments that the university does not protect them and cannot spare a word of care for their families under siege. As educators, following Birzeit University, we too call upon our academic communities to “fulfill their intellectual and academic duty of seeking truth, maintaining a critical distance from state-sponsored propaganda, and to hold the perpetrators of genocide and those complicit with them accountable.”

Finally, this is an urgent moment of dangerously shrinking space for freedom of speech on our campuses. Students, staff, and faculty in support of Palestine at UCSC have long been subject to attacks disparaging our work. The scope and scale of intimidation and threats grow everyday. We are aware that universities are under immense pressure from trustees, alumni, and donors to be perceived as “pro-Israel,” even at the cost of violating academic freedom and free speech rights. Students nationwide are under increasing threats and attacks, including from university leaderships that refuse to protect them from harassment and instead actively punish them for speaking up; from employers that fire them or reverse decisions to hire them; and from the U.S. Senate, which has dangerously equated criticism of the state of Israel with antisemitism and called pro-Palestine students at NYU and other universities “morally repugnant.” As our own administration has recently censured the work of scholars committed to the study of Israel as a settler colonial state, we demand that UCSC ensure that all of its community members, including those who advocate for Palestinian rights, are able to produce knowledge with protection and without interference. UCSC also must recognize the harms of Islamophobia and of the racism experienced by Arab and Arab-American colleagues and students, who are currently watching the U.S. media and their government officials encourage the annihilation of the Palestinian people.

Now is the time for faculty, staff, and students to come together to protect our right to speak out and collectively demand an immediate end to the massive violence being inflicted on the people of Gaza. We must also rally, on campus and beyond, in support of our students and against the anti-Palestinian campaigns in the media and the political sphere. We envision Faculty for Justice in Palestine as a space that encourages radical care for each other and invites colleagues across the university to speak out at this critical moment.

As the newly formed Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UC Santa Cruz, we assert that while we are coming together in this moment of escalating genocide, that we know that the Nakba is ongoing and that our work does not begin or end here. UCSC FJP will be an ongoing formation that will continue to implement its commitments and adjust them as needed in future moments until liberation of Palestinian land and people is actualized and the right of return is implemented, and our campus communities are free from racialized targeting and disregard.

Please add your name to our statement to oppose this genocidal attack on Gaza, the continuing occupation of Palestinians subject to Israeli control, and the threats to our students and colleagues who want to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Subsequently, we will ask if you wish to join our chapter.

You can add your name to our statement here:

Michelle Aguilera, Assistant Professor, Education
Jon Ayon Alonso, Assistant Professor, Film and Digital Media
Amy Argenal, Assistant Teaching Professor, Sociology
Anjali Arondekar, Professor, Feminist Studies
Sophia Azeb, Assistant Professor, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
Courtney Bonam, Assistant Professor, Psychology & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
mattie brice, Assistant Professor; Performance, Play, & Design
micha cardénas, Associate Professor, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design
J. Mijin Cha, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
Muriam Haleh Davis, Associate Professor, History
Roberto S. de Roock, Assistant Professor, Education
Alycia Ellington, PhD student, Sociology
Carolina Flores, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Arlo Fosburg, PhD Candidate, FMST
Robin Gabriel, Ph.D. Candidate in sociology and CRES
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen, Lecturer, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
Yulia Gilichinskaya, lecturer, Film & Digital Media
Amy Mihyang Ginther, Associate Professor, Department of Performance, Play & Design
Rebecca Gross, Graduate Student Worker, Literature Department
Alycia Ellington, PhD student, Sociology
Lani Hanna, PhD candidate, Feminist Studies
Camilla Hawthorne, Associate Professor, Sociology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
Christine Hong, Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Literature
Hyesung Grace Hwang, Assistant Professor, Psychology
Jenny Kelly, Associate Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies
Ki’Amber, PhD student, Sociology
René Espinoza Kissell, Assistant Professor, Education Dept
Amanda Lashaw, Lecturer, Education Department
Marisol LeBrón, Associate Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies
Xavier Livermon, Associate Professor, CRES
Marina Magalhães, Assistant Professor, Department of Performance, Play & Design
Nidhi Mahajan, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Nick Mitchell, Associate Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Cinthya Martinez, Postdoctoral Fellow, Latin American and Latino Studies
Jennifer Mogannam, Assistant Professor, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
Aida Mukharesh, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Rosa Navarro, PhD Student, Sociology
Marcia Ochoa | Associate Professor | Performance, Play & Design
Brittani R. Orona (Hupa), UC President’s and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, History
Ariella Patchen, PhD student, History of Consciousness dept
Martin Rizzo-Martinez, Assistant Professor, Film and Digital Media
Josephine Pham, Assistant Professor, Education
Kaylee-Allyssa Roberts, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Kriti Sharma, Assistant Professor, CRES
Hannah Waterhouse, assistant prof., environmental studies
Zoe Zhao, Assistant Professor, Sociology

You can follow us on Instagram at @fjpucsc
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