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US university president placed on leave for accepting demands of Palestine supporters

May 17, 2024 at 1:38 pm

George Washington University students camp out on campus to demand that their university divest from Israel and call for a ceasefire in Gaza, on April 25, 2024 in Washington, D.C., United States. [Celal Güneş – Anadolu Agency]

Sonoma State University’s President, Mike Lee, has been placed on administrative leave for announcing an agreement with pro-Palestinian activists to pursue an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and divestment strategies.

California State University Chancellor Mildred Garcia said yesterday that Mike Lee was put on leave for accepting the demands of protesting students without obtaining “proper approvals.”

She added in a statement published on the website of the University of California, to which Sonoma University is affiliated: “For now, because of this insubordination and consequences it has brought upon the system, President Lee has been placed on administrative leave.”

This decision is considered the harshest disciplinary action imposed on the president of any of the US universities that have witnessed anti-war protests.

Since April, US, Canadian, British, French and Indian universities have witnessed protests rejecting the Israeli war on Gaza and demanding university administrations stop their academic cooperation with Israeli academic institutions.

Protesters also demand that their universities withdraw their investments from companies that support the occupation of Palestinian territories and arm the Israeli army.

In New York riot police were sent into campuses to disperse protesters and remove encampments set up in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

Read: Belgium’s Ghent university severs ties with 3 Israel institutions