IUPUI SJP harassed, intimidated
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) midwest regional conference attendees were shocked to find Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) outside walls and windows covered with defamatory flyers targeting SJP member Haneen* the morning of April 3rd.
The flyers claimed Haneen, a female Muslim student and president of IUPUI SJP, as a terrorist and described the SJP conference negatively. Online, anonymous blogs emerged claiming the same and included defamatory videos.
Haneen herself declined to be interviewed, but Hassan Jamal, a board member of the IUPUI SJP, who has also received similar phone call threats, and Dominic Dorsey, another IUPUI student, were available for comment on her behalf.
According to Jamal, four to five board members have received threatening phone calls so far. A few SJP members’ phone numbers were distributed in a program guide for the SJP conference attendees, and Jamal believes that’s where attackers were able to find Haneen’s number. As to whether the attackers are IUPUI students or local community members, both Jamal and Dorsey believe they could be either or both.
“They’re spread out, and they’ve got a collective agenda to target, not only Haneen, but other individuals, and it has become apparent that this is not going to be a one-time incident but a phenomenon,” Dorsey said.
Palestine Legal has taken over Haneen’s case and urged the IUPUI administration to do more to investigate and end the harassment. Despite a letter signed by over 75 students and faculty urging campus administration to take action, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar did not put out a statement specifically condemning the attacks against Haneen and the IUPUI SJP until April 12th, following significant media pressure to do so.
The inadequate response by University and police authorities alike, “allowed the cancer to spread,” according to Dorsey, encouraging more harassment, especially online. In fact, some twitter users have hijacked the “#WeStandWithHaneen” hashtag to continue the harassment and intimidation, despite using traceable twitter accounts.
Nevertheless, Jamal asserts that of the student body who is aware of the situation, most have sided with Haneen. According to him, the Black Student Union, the Muslim Student Association, the African Student Association, and many more have put out statements in support of Haneen.
“Haneen is one of those types of individuals where, if there’s a sense of injustice, she wants to do her part to right the wrong […] At the heart of this issue is Haneen. We need people to recognize that she is a person, first and foremost. When your personhood, when you as an individual, have been attacked, that’s a violation in one of the highest forms. To be an individual who is looking towards graduation, towards a career, towards a family, to travel, to anything else, and to Google yourself – as many people do – and the first thing that pops up is that you’re a national security threat….that’s a violation, that’s something that can’t easily go away, So we need first and foremost for the individuals who have done this to her to be brought to justice,” Dorsey said.
Palestine Legal did not return our call for comment and Haneen’s last name was not disclosed due to privacy concerns.