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Anti-Israel students, faculty don’t like Yale’s new president

She dared to prevent pro-Hamas activists from wreaking havoc on campus

Anti-Israel students and faculty at Yale are miffed at the appointment of Maurie McInnis as the school’s new president, citing her handling of “pro-Palestinian” protests at Yale and her previous post at Stony Brook University.

Several hundred Stony Brook students and faculty had signed on to a letter demanding McInnis “revise free speech policies and increase administrative transparency” after nine anti-Israel protesters were arrested for a sit-in demonstration at a campus building.

One Stony Brook professor had complained McInnis comes off like a “politician,” and worried about the “impact” her decisions to arrest activists would have on students’ “academic and professional careers.”

McInnis told the Yale Daily News her protest decisions were based on “content-neutral time, place, manner restrictions.”

Yale Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Dept. Chair Roderick Ferguson, also a member of the school’s Faculty for Justice in Palestine, said the arrest of anti-Israel activists “chill[s] both assembly and analysis.”

There are “twin threats” facing anti-Israel activists — policing and legal/doxxing threats, Ferguson (pictured) added.

“Both forms of policing are unleashed in this period of advocacy for Palestinians and critiques of Israeli state violence,” Ferguson said. “Given her history, there is reason to be concerned about how Dr. McInnis will negotiate the rights of assembly, free speech, and academic inquiry.”

MORE: Yale students threaten hunger strike if no divestment from Israel by Friday

Anti-Israel students and faculty also ripped McInnis’ creation of Stony Brook’s Enterprise Risk Management, or ERM, which “plays a key role” in the school’s risk portfolio (Yale has a similar department).

Occupy Yale claimed ERM is “a new corporate apparatus that works to militarize and surveil campus and students.” Stony Brook history professor Robert Chase added it is “an incorporated hybrid-corporate state military-like structure with far-reaching and unseen powers.”

Yale’s Ferguson, whose “teaching interests” include “women of color feminism,” “critical university studies,” and “queer social movements,” compared McInnis’ creation of ERM to the killings of students in 1970 at Kent State and Jackson State during Vietnam War protests.

“This maneuver would begin an era in which university presidents’ engagements with the police to suppress student activism would become a component of academic governance,” he said.

Yale student Craig Birckhead-Morton, a former Yale Police Advisory Board undergraduate representative who was twice arrested during anti-Israel protests, said he would like McInnis and other school officials “to hold dialogue” with activists on issues like divestment.

He then complained about how activists’ demands are not be acted upon by the university.

McInnis assumes the Yale presidency post on July 1.

Read the Yale Daily News article.

MORE: Yale anti-Israel activists form human chain, block access to campus green

IMAGES: Voyagerix/Shutterstock.com; SCU Center for the Arts and Humanities/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.