The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Students for Justice in Palestine seek legal action after controversial mock apartheid wall removal
The mock apartheid wall before it was removed. Photo via

Marquette’s Students for Justice in Palestine group set up a mock apartheid wall on the second floor of the Alumni Memorial Union for its third-annual “Israeli Apartheid Week.” The wall was removed by the Office of Student Development without warning by the next morning.

SJP is seeking legal advice to ensure its rights have not been violated through Palestine Legal, an organization that protects groups such as SJP against discrimination.

“We never had to deal with this in the past,” said Sarah Ghouleh, SJP Vice President and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Our freedom of speech is not guaranteed for us.”

SJP President Gadeer Ayesh, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, received an email from the Office of Student Development shortly after the incident. It said the wall violated school policies.

Julie West, coordinator for leadership programs and student involvement, wrote to Ayesh on Tuesday after the incident to say all events, publicity and displays by student organizations need to be approved by the OSD in advance.

“We cannot stress enough to you if we had received information about your organization’s intent to put up a display earlier, we would have been able to have proper time to discuss your group’s intentions with the display and could have worked towards a resolution,” West said in an email.

West wrote that the wall can never be displayed again because of its concerning nature.

“I understand if there are events, you submit it through the OSD to get approved, but tabling in the Union has never needed pre-approval,” Ayesh said. “You just submit reservation for the space, which concerned me because I wasn’t able to figure out what policy (the OSD was) talking about.”

University Spokesperson Brian Dorrington said the group was allowed to continue with its week of events since everything else was approved by the OSD.

According to the policy on the student organization page on the OSD website, “the university has final discretion in decisions regarding the distribution of literature, the sponsorship of visiting speakers and public performances, and the screening of films.”

“The university has established processes for any group that is planning events and putting up displays related to those events,” Dorrington said in an email. 

The wall, which presents a number of images and slogans, was previously used at “Israeli Apartheid Week” events. Two images were added this year: the Dome of the Rock and a dove with an olive branch in its mouth.

It pertains to a state in which all of its people are free and are able to have equal rights,” Ayesh said.

SJP Uncovered's Facebook ad. Screenshot by Natalie Wickman /
SJP Uncovered’s Facebook ad. Screenshot by Natalie Wickman /[email protected]

SJP hosted its annual “Israeli Apartheid Week” starting Feb. 22. It featured speakers, presentations and movie showings in an effort to stimulate discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The organization SJP Uncovered, which protests SJP groups across the country, released a Facebook ad specifically addressing the week of events at Marquettte.

Though the wall was on display in the past, Ayesh said that a member of the OSD, who had worked with SJP in the past, claimed to have no recollection of the wall being displayed during previous Israeli Apartheid Weeks.

“It was weird to me because there was no mention of Israel, Jews or anything,” Ayesh said. “Some of our brochures are even more detailed and go into the conflict even more. So it’s weird to me that they’re fine when we hand out brochures, but when we put up a 10-foot wall, it’s taken down.”

Story continues below advertisement
View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Joyce F. GuinnMar 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I attended the event at Marquette and was shocked by the removal of the apartheid wall. On whose advice was this done? Does the SJP group have veto power over Jewish groups? Were any Palestinians consulted? Is Marquette in denial concerning Israel’s occupation, deemed illegal by most states including the US? Or, are they simply bowing to pressure from some in the Jewish community.

    These questions need to be answered!