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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Freedom of Speech Under Scrutiny: Princeton University's Move to Expel Students for Protesting Gaza War Fatalities Sparks Debate

Student protesters at Princeton University were suddenly evicted from campus after participating in a "Stop the War in Gaza Protest," which has resulted in the brutal deaths of men, women, and children in the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces. Per one account provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, approximately 75% of Gaza's population has been displaced, with the deaths of over 27,000 people in the Gaza Strip alone.

The attack from Israelis is a result of Hamas (a Palestinian Sunni Islamist FTO group) launching a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. Many Israelis saw the attack on the Jewish nation as one of the deadliest attacks on Jewish people since the Holocaust, per the American Jewish Committee, a global advocacy organization in concern of Jewish people established on November 11, 1906, till today.

The ongoing War happening in the Gaza Strip reveals the carnage of innocent babies and children murdered by the cold hand of War in both Gaza and Israeli territories. Which have caused Princeton University American students, along with college campuses around the nation, to protest and demand the "immediate and permanent ceasefire plus a condemnation of Israel's genocidal campaign against the Palestinians." The Princeton University student protesters are also demanding immediate  divestment from "companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel's ongoing military campaign, occupation, and apartheid." 

Most Israelis simply want the rest of the hostages captured by Hamas to be returned. But the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is demanding in addition that hostages be returned, plus 

  • The removal of a large target population of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. 

  • And that Jewish settlers repopulate the restored Gaza Strip territory once the War is over.

As a result of Americans witnessing the atrocities of War and seeing the results of Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, American college students at Princeton University began to voice their opinions about the War and, in so doing, 13 students became immediately homeless after being suddenly evicted from their dorms May 1, 2024. The link below shares the 13 students' statements after their removal from the Princeton University Campus. 

Onlookers can easily tell that the students' concerns are valid, but did the Princeton students follow the code of ethics concerning peaceful protest? The emotional toll of advocating against a war that poses an exceptional threat to children due to their vulnerability and inability to protect themselves can stir up very normal emotions of outrage and concern in the typical human being.

For example, if college students who may be emotional voice their opinions to college staff and security loudly, their response could be considered a non-peaceful protest. In such a case, the college or university may consider this behavior a violation of their code of conduct and take disciplinary action against the students involved. It's important for individuals and groups participating in protests to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and to conduct themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner. 

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is a crucial part of the Bill of Rights. It ensures that every citizen has the right to express their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions freely without any fear of retaliation or government intervention. This amendment also guarantees the freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, the press, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Protecting and upholding these fundamental rights is essential, as they are the cornerstone of a free and democratic society.

Echo News T.V. L.L.C.

In reality, the ability of a student to return to school after being banned for protesting essentially depends on the policies and actions taken by the college or university. However, it's crucial to remember that protesting is a right protected by the First Amendment, and students have the right to express their opinions and engage in peaceful protest. Therefore, institutions should consider the importance of free speech and the benefits of student activism and make decisions that align with these values. If students are banned from school for participating in a protest, instituting a transparent and fair process for reinstating the student after a certain period could be a reasonable solution. Ultimately, the objective should be to encourage civic engagement and activism while maintaining a safe and respectful campus environment.

The relaunched Echo hopes that these sincere, very brave students and possible future civic leaders will be provided suitable housing resources that will provide both safety and an atmosphere so that they can resume their studies.


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