Students and alumni are in debate about the Temple Fest altercation that took place on Aug. 20. Many are demanding immediate action, while others advocated to wait for the investigation to be completed.
A university spokesperson confirmed that Temple completed its investigation and would send the results to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
After initially postponing a protest once President Theobald agreed to address the incident at Temple Student Government’s Aug. 25 meeting, a group of students and alumni arranged for an upcoming protest on Sept. 4, though participants said they seem uncertain whether that will take place.
Marissa Rubin, a junior anthropology major and one of the students who organized the postponed protest, said she will wait before arranging any further action.
“We are not trying to disrupt life on campus for the sake of it,” Rubin said. “We simply want to do what is necessary to keep everyone feeling safe.
“We want the University to take measures to protect the student population, and take a clear stand against anti-Semitism,” Rubin said. She said she would like to see Students for Justice in Palestine placed on probation along with the students involved in the incident disciplined.
“For me, this is not about religion or politics. This is about basic equality and the safety of the students,” she said.
At the TSG meeting, Theobald announced the investigation, which was completed Thursday.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office refused to comment, stating that the office cannot comment on cases unless charges are filed.
Some students said they were upset the rally was postponed.
“The rally is an openly political act,” Brian Albert Zoa wrote on the protest’s Facebook event page.
“It is to raise awareness of a greater problem than just this assault.” Zoa said. “The rally never should have been postponed in the first place.”
Since the protest was postponed, students have sprung up with different methods of action, including an online petition which calls for immediate disciplinary action against the individual who is under investigation and suspension of SJP from Temple.
The petition demands a public apology for the incident from SJP and a formal condemnation of Hamas before the group could be reinstated.
Temple SJP members have apologized for the incident and stated their complete opposition to physical violence and anti-Semitism. Rose Daraz, President of Temple SJP, stated earlier that SJP would not counter protest on Aug. 25.
In the statement released by SJP on Aug. 21, the alleged assailant and student stated “I’m sorry for what I did; I admit that I lost my temper.” He denied using any ethnic slurs and stated that the hit was not fueled by anti-Semitism but rather a heated debate between the two individuals.
Various groups including The International Socialist Organization, Christian-Jewish Allies, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace and Temple SJP alumni have sent open letters of support to Temple SJP.
Katherine Cohen, a Temple alumna and former SJP member, said the charges of anti-Semitism were not in line with the organization’s mission.
“Temple SJP is an open, welcoming organization that grounds its work in a commitment to nonviolence,” Cohen said. “When Temple SJP is challenged by individuals and groups that disagree with their message of Palestine solidarity, Temple SJP as a chapter and as individuals, [has] responded respectfully.”
“Students for Justice in Palestine is important to the healthy democratic debate that is vital on college campuses,”she said.
Mariam Dembele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org