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Hunter Alumni issue letter of Solidarity with Palestine

Alumni of Hunter College have drafted a letter addressing the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict to the college’s interim president, Ann Kirschner. The letter contains detailed concerns the alum community has regarding the censorship against Palestinian students on the Hunter campus.

“We, the undersigned alumni, pen this collective letter to express profound disappointment in Hunter’s lack of empathy and concern regarding the ongoing genocide in Gaza,” the letter stated.  “Beyond witnessing one-sided statements emanating directly from administrative offices, we’ve observed a troubling prioritization of a select group of students on campus over the majority.”

The letter continued by calling out the alleged lack of protection for Palestinian, Muslim, Arab and Pro-Palestinian students on campus, stating that the “inadequate security measures have become evident.”

They have accused the Hunter administration of labeling student-led protests on the campus grounds as those who are “supporting terrorism.” However, the alumni countered the accusation calling it false and dangerous.

“This baseless rhetoric not only misrepresents but poses a real danger to the students exercising their rights in these rallies, fighting for academic freedom and justice for Palestinians facing genocide under a violent occupation.”

The letter calls for a list of demands that the Hunter College administration should follow.

Among the listed demands is a call for “accountability” regarding Hunter’s decision to hire visiting professor, Tamy, Ben-Tor. Ben-Tor was recently the subject of controversy. CUNY students are calling for Ben-Tor’s termination following the adjunct producing and posting a parody video of her mocking Palestinians.

The letter is demanding that Hunter endorse the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. In this Palestinian-led movement, the main objective is to end international support for Israeli violation of international law by pressuring major entities to adjust their policies.

According to a report from Middle East Eye, the untitled video depicts Ben-Tor, an Israeli performance artist and adjunct of Hunter College’s MFA program dressed in what appears to be a brown, bearded figure praising Hamas for their recent attacks on Israel.

Several days after Ben-Tor’s video was posted, the Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College and CUNY4Palestine posted an edited version of her video to Instagram and called for her firing.

Shortly after the video was posted, she sent an apology to both the university and the student body. Ben-Tor responded to the backlash of her video calling it an “emotional response” to the opposing side in the ongoing conflict.

“The video was my emotional response to the odd affiliation of several intellectuals in our society, with a patriarchy of terrorists who wish to destroy everything we all stand for,” Ben-Tor said in her statement.

Other demands included calling on Hunter President Kirschner to condemn the actions of Ben-Tor while also acknowledging the actions that the nation of Israel has issued towards the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Hunter Alumni group have threatened to cut all ties to Hunter College if demands are not met including withholding all donations and other financial support. They are also threatening to refrain from participating in any future Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives that Hunter College organizes in their name.

The letter was posted by Hunter’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance student group. CUNY4Palastine posted a tweet standing in solidarity with Hunter PSA.

As of December 2023, over 200 members of the Hunter Alumni community have signed the letter with alumni from various classes going back as far as 1994. Hunter College alumni have called for the administration to act on their demands immediately.

“As Hunter College alumni we condemn the actions of the Hunter administration that have refused to protect its student body properly and adequately. We request immediate action and response to this letter,” the letter stated.

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Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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