Immediate SFSU response required against Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and hostility to Palestine May 3, 2017

GUPS Message to San Francisco State University Administration

Today students found dozens of racist, Islamophobic, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian posters all over SFSU campus, yet again! These posters vilify the feminist community activist Rasmea Odeh who was subjected by interrogators of the Israeli military occupying Palestinian lands to torture and rape constituting violations of international human rights and US law. The posters smear Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a grassroots Jewish community organization, that refuses to let Israel speak in their names as it commits crimes against humanity. The posters also vilify Students for Justice in Palestine, also a campus based grassroots student movement that refuses to be complicit in US funding and political support for Israel’s colonialism, racism and occupation.

Once again SFSU administration has failed to protect us and provide a safe work and study environment for students faculty and staff. Claims of being a sanctuary campus must be evidenced in deeds not in words. This applies equally to Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians as it applies to everybody else. As MLK said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. It is unfortunate that as I write, it is students who are doing the job of our campus leadership. It is students who are documenting and tearing down these racist, Islamophobic and bullying posters that incite violence against us and emboldens Islamophobes and racists like David Horowitz, Canary Mission, Campus Watch, Middle East Forum, and AMCHA. As I write, students report that they are finding re-plastered posters in places that they had already removed them, indicating that it is ongoing and they are still on campus all while university police is standing by and doing nothing. This is unacceptable, hypocritical and violates the letter and the SFSU mission of what we stand for as a campus. Justice, accountability and transparency demands immediate action.

Respectfully, reply all. We are all outraged and require immediate solution.

GUPS at SF State


San Francisco State University President Wong’s Response

Thank you for your email letting us all know about the posters that you found on campus yesterday. We had in fact received information that posters may have been placed on campus and immediately deployed University Police, Risk Management and Student Affairs staff to search the campus. Once again, I was disturbed by the news.

Unfortunately, they were unable to find any posters or signs on campus to determine whether policies or laws had been broken. I would appreciate you working directly with Chief Jason Wu, who I have copied on this email, to identify the location of the posters that you and fellow students found. He can also be reached directly at (415) 338–2747, or through UPD dispatch 338–7200.

I can only imagine how distressing this incident is for you and fellow students. Please know the University is here to support you and any other students, faculty or staff who are feeling threatened. I encourage you to call the University Police Department at any point if you feel unsafe and to also seek out campus counseling support services should you need to talk. The SF State community is here in support.

Thank you again for alerting us to the incident.

Les Wong



GUPS Email

Hello President Wong,

In response to your email there are two things to which we would like answers. (1) With regard to university police; (a) on Wednesday May 3, university police stood by and did nothing while students were tearing down the Islamophobic, racist and anti-Palestinian posters. Once again it had to be students who had to maintain the campus as a free zone from islamophobia, racism, and hostility. We are still waiting to see how your definition of sanctuary campus is being implemented. (b) You mentioned university police and Police Chief Wu. As Professor Abdulhadi stated on multiple occasions, on October 15, the day after the Horowitz and Canary Mission posters appeared on campus, Mr. Wu called her. She asked him two specific questions (i) how did the posters come to be plastered on 26 locations on campus and (ii) why were they allowed to stay up? Mr. Wu promised to get back to Dr. Abdulhadi and the community right away for answers, to this very day we have no answers as to what happened that night, who was responsible and who will be held accountable. It has been over 6 months since October 14, 2016 and SFSU has not conducted an investigation nor shared publicly what has happened as per the charge of public institutions. Is there a cover up here?

Second, we have on every occasion reiterated how to address to perennial Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism on campus. They are restated in our Wednesday email, as well as the oct 14 email below. Let me reiterate them here.

(1) End the hostile and unsafe work and study environment against Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians, at SFSU campus that intimidate, bully, silences and polices scholarship, teaching and campus protest activists by faculty, staff and students. There are too many examples to include, but we can provide more to community members for deeper context.

(2) No students who were targeted on the posters got back any responses from UPD in regards from the first set of posters that went up in October.

(3) Build AMED studies as a viable and stable program with tenure track faculty, operating budget and full time staff. As we all know, structural remedy are the only answer to structural problems.

(4) Immediate and public investigation by an independent panel into the multiple incidents of attacks against us.

We are ready to meet with you, as several professors and community members have suggested, provided that our demands are taken seriously and you are prepared to act on them right away.