Letter to the Editor: Reject Interference in SGA

Students supporting Palestine and the "Ceasefire Now!" resolution gather in the senate chambers on Nov. 27 | Samuel Larreal, PantherNOW

Bailey Bond-Trittipo | Ph.D. Student, Engineering & Computing Education

Ceasefire Now! is a proposed Student Government Association (SGA) resolution that calls on SGA to endorse an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the United States’ and FIU’s complicity in the Israeli government’s massacre of Palestinians. It exemplifies a commitment to the equality of all peoples, but unfortunately, those in positions of power at the university have smeared this effort, assaulted the character of those who back it, and undermined the autonomy of SGA.  

I was stunned when Jon Warech, the executive director of Hillel at FIU, utilized his allotted time during the last SGA Senate meeting to try to delegitimize Ceasefire Now! by calling Jewish Voices for Peace activists “token Jews” and comparing some of the resolution’s authors and supporters to neo-Nazis. I condemn antisemitism in the strongest possible terms, and the students and SGA officials who authored and sponsored Ceasefire Now! echo this sentiment. It was wildly inappropriate for Warech to attack students in this way and dismiss Jewish students who support the resolution. 

The message President Kenneth Jessell and Board of Trustees Chair Rogelio Tovar sent on December 1 disturbs me even more. Like Jessell’s October 8 and October 27 statements, the two fail to condemn Israel’s mass slaughter of Gazan civilians, further hurting Palestinian students. 

Additionally, they claim the resolution contains inaccuracies without pointing out what those alleged inaccuracies are. This dishonest behavior insults the intelligence of the resolution’s authors.  

Their message also distorts students’ support for Ceasefire Now! by suggesting the viewpoints expressed in the resolution represent those of a few. In reality, the SGA Palestine Solidarity Petition has over 500 signatures, and the number continues to climb. For a student body that saw just over 3,000 votes in the 2023-2024 SGA President/Vice President election, this number speaks volumes, as does the attendance of dozens of pro-Ceasefire Now! students at the last SGA Senate meeting. 

Worst of all, Jessell and Tovar have doubled down on their position in local news interviews instead of sitting down with the resolution’s authors and concerned Palestinian students.  

The actions of Warech, Jessell, and Tovar demonstrate attempts to influence the SGA legislative process and subdue students. I encourage my fellow students to push back against these interferences by signing the petition, packing the first SGA meeting of the spring semester, and joining future on-campus demonstrations calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza. 

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board, nor does the Board necessarily endorse the content of letters to the editor. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of members of the university community and beyond. All letters to the editor are published with respect to PantherNOW’s role as a public forum for free expression at FIU.

Want to write a letter to the editor? You can respond to this letter or write your own. Email fiusmeditor@gmail.com with a piece no longer than 400 words. Text is edited for length, not for grammar, spelling or clarity. Letters may not include promotion, calls to action or hate speech. Students must send their full name, year and major and Panther I.D. Faculty must send their full name, department and postion at the university.

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