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Purdue graduate students consider ’emergency’ aid to Palestinians, funds for campus SJP

The Purdue University Graduate Student Government last week debated a bill which would send “emergency” financial aid to the Palestinians, as well as funds to the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine.

The bill, proposed by Patrick DeBonis, would gift $100 to the Palestinian Children Relief Fund and $500 to the Purdue SJP, The Exponent reports.

A graduate student in the math department who helps organize an antiracist reading group and believes his subject area needs more “scholars of social justice,” DeBonis (who uses they/them pronouns) said he came up with the idea for the bill after attending a campus “Palestinian vigil.”

DeBonis (pictured) compared the $500 for the SJP to PGSG funds that had been allocated for earthquake relief in Turkey.

DeBonis’s Instagram page features a link to the Just Mathematics Collective which is associated with BDS — boycott, divest, sanctions — against Israel.

“We affirm that the Palestinian struggle is that of an Indigenous people against a settler-colonial apartheid state that legally enshrines and violently upholds the supremacy of its Jewish subjects,” the JMC declares on its site.

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“Israeli universities are partners in this genocidal program. We can no longer stand by silently while apartheid reigns in Palestine. As mathematicians, we have a special responsibility to honor the call, considering that our discipline plays a key role in creating the weapons and surveillance technology used to uphold the status quo.”

From the Exponent piece:

The bill went through a round of amendments when senators pointed out that it seemed to pick sides with Palestine and that they did not know what exactly the $500 would be spent on.

“We should write something in support of all who are affected by this,” said Somosmita Mitra, the PGSG president. “At the end of the day, we are all human beings and going through this is incredibly unfortunate.”

The senators had a discussion on what to add and take away from the legislation, with many saying this might alienate some of their constituents.

“I’d like to point out that the text of this legislation condemns both Hamas and the Israeli siege,” said Andrew Mitchel, the parliamentarian for PGSG.

“We’re not condoning any violence with this legislation to say that this legislation is in favor of one side or another.

Mitchel added it was “incomprehensible” to him that some would be against the Palestinian aid as it is “supporting children.”

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IMAGES: Shutterstock.com; Purdue U.

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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.