Four Jewish students who were kicked out of a controversial Brooklyn College forum in February that hosted a pro-Palestinian activist were wrongfully ejected, a report sponsored by the City University of New York said.
The report said that poor oversight of the event, and not religious or racial discrimination as alleged by the students, was behind the Feb. 7 incident, the Daily News reported.
“It is clear that there was no justification for the removal of the four students,” investigators from the Bryan Cave law firm wrote in a 36-page report released on Friday. “They did not create a ‘disturbance.’”
But the report exonerated Brooklyn College, whose sponsorship of Omar Barghouti, founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, caused an avalanche of requests by city officials for them to cancel the event. They said that although the four students were all recognizably Jewish, “there is no support for an inference of discrimination based on religion.”
The investigators said that the students were asked to leave because a student volunteer from the pro-Palestine group mistook papers the four were passing to each other for political flyers, which was prohibited.
The report questioned the hosting school for not taking control of the divisive event quickly enough. They allowed Students for Justice in Palestine to handle the master list of RVSPs, as well as set the press policy for the night.
Many students who signed up later got dropped from the list because it was so disorganized.
But the biggest criticism came in for the school not setting clear protocol for who had the authority to eject participants.
“It was probably a mistake … to give the students primary responsibility for maintaining order,” the report noted.