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Relaunching Suspend Pitzer Haifa 2018-2019

About Suspend Pitzer Haifa

During the 2018-2019 academic school year, Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine worked to conditionally suspend Pitzer College’s study abroad program with the University of Haifa. After several months of planning and organizing alongside the Pitzer student body, senators, and faculty, the campaign was eventually successful. Pitzer College Council voted to conditionally suspend the program with ⅔ (67 YES; 28 NO; 8 abstentions) majority. Merely 4 hours after the College Council bill passed, Pitzer College president Melvin Oliver undemocratically nullified the vote, citing the necessity of academic freedom as well as criticizing the bill for being prejudiced. The veto was unprecedented; only two vetos have ever been used in Pitzer’s history, both to deny resolutions in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Now That Melvin Oliver Has Retired…What Next?

Pitzer College has announced that Dr. Strom C. Thacker will take office as Pitzer’s new president beginning July 2023. We must make it clear to Dr. Thacker that the Pitzer community is wholeheartedly against study abroad programs that limit Palestinian freedom and uphold Israeli apartheid. As students who practice Pitzer’s core value of social responsibility, we demand Pitzer College conditionally suspend the exchange with University of Haifa until until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities. Sign our petition to demonstrate support! 

Campaign Overview

We, Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine, call on Pitzer College to suspend its exchange with the University of Haifa until

(a) Israel ends its discriminatory restrictions on entry based on ancestry and/or political speech and 

(b) Israel adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities


  • In 2018, the Pitzer College’s faculty voted to conditionally suspend the College’s exchange with University of Haifa until the above conditions were met. The resolution then moved to the College Council, where it passed again with ⅔ majority
    • This marked a historic win for the BDS movement and Palestinian freedom, making Pitzer the first institution of higher education in the country to cut ties with an Israeli study abroad program 
    • However, merely four hours after the bill passed, President Melvin Oliver nullified the vote and flew to the University of Haifa to affirm his support of Israeli apartheid, thus undermining the Pitzer community’s embrace of the academic boycott in support of Palestinian freedom 
  • Throughout Pitzer’s 60-year history, the Pitzer administration and board of trustees have twice unilaterally rejected a democratic motion set by its College Council or the Student Senate. Both vetoes addressed bills that fought for Palestinian liberation, demonstrating the extent to which Pitzer College disregards community calls for justice in Palestine 
  • Pitzer’s “core” values include “social responsibility,” “intercultural understanding,” and “student engagement.” We must hold the college to an ethical and democratic standard regarding their stance on Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality
  • Between 1947 and 1948, more than 40,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in Haifa alone, and refugees still, to this day, cannot return to their homes. Descendants of these refugees who study at the Claremont Colleges would likely be barred from this study abroad program. How can we have a program that some of our own students cannot participate in due to their ethnicity? 
  • Prioritizing human rights, ethical considerations, and supporting the academic boycott is the pinnacle of academic freedom and a larger fight for justice internationally
  • Palestinian and Arab students and faculty at the University of Haifa have urged us to take up this fight: “Since we the Palestinian students in Haifa University are banned from supporting or calling for the boycott of Israeli universities and Israeli academia in general, we thank the rallying students for rising the Palestinian cause in American universities.” 

Given President Oliver’s recent retirement and the reasons described above, it is time for President-Designate Strom Thacker to abide by the Pitzer community’s overwhelming support of Palestinian freedom by cutting its ties with the University of Haifa. One tangible way we can support Palestinian freedom in our campuses is by making sure we’re not supporting institutions that contribute to discrimination and oppression. As the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel asserts, “To enroll, or participate in any way, in a study abroad program at an Israeli institution means ignoring if not perpetuating the ongoing violation of the academic- and, indeed, human- freedoms of Palestinians.” Join us to demand the conditional suspension of Pitzer’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa by signing the petition. 

In solidarity and struggle, 

Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Supporting Suspend Pitzer Haifa 2018-2019

Show support and join us

Meetings Tuesdays 8PM in Kravis 165