Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
Students from Students for Justice in Palestine at FIU were removed from Graham Center last night for chanting too loudly and disrupting a screening of footage from Oct. 7.
The screening, held at the Modesto Maidique Campus in the Graham Center, was hosted by Hillel at FIU and the Consulate General of Israel. At 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 24, students were invited to watch “raw video footage collected from a variety of sources, including body cameras and cell phones used by HAMAS’ terrorists to film the barbaric massacre of October 7th.”
The footage was condensed into a 47-minute edited film, which SJP-FIU sat in on “to protest the presence of a representative of the occupying state on campus, promoting Israeli propaganda and justifying the genocide taking place in Gaza” according to their Instagram.
“The event taking place in GC 355 centered around a private film screening with the purpose of manufacturing consent for genocide,” SJP-FIU’s Instagram post reads, showing videos of students being led out of GC. “Our chants against genocide were deemed unacceptable by the weapons of the institution, and the police removed us physically from the premises.”
According to FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas, the removal occurred around 5:30. He told PantherNOW that students stood at the top of the stairwell, initially “impeding access” to the room but moved when asked.
Casas said they began chanting when the screening started, loud enough that it disrupted the film. At that point he went out to ask them to keep it down, saying otherwise they were fine to stay.
“Had they not disrupted the event they absolutely would have been allowed to stay,” said Casas, calling the night “uneventful”, with students largely complying with officers.
“They kept disrupting the event; we asked them to leave, at which time they did.”
The evening ended with protestors chanting on the Graham Center lawn.
In an interview with PantherNOW, Hillel director Jon Warech said that this protest was a step beyond what was acceptable.
“To suggest that we’re somehow the aggressor…really crosses the line,” Warech said, saying he felt that it was harassment of students, faculty and staff to be told they “had blood on their hands” as they entered and exited the screening.
“To falsely yell about genocide…when we just watched our own people die is horrendous.”
PantherNOW reached out to the Israel Consulate General, along with YDSA and SJP at FIU for comment. PantherNOW is waiting for comment from the former two organizations, but received a written statement from SJP via Instagram.
“SJP vehemently disapproves of the presence of any Israeli representative on campus, especially those actively supporting the occupation and genocide committed by the genocidal apartheid regime – a threat posed to Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, anti-zionist Jewish, and all other students, faculty, and staff who oppose the countless Israeli war crimes and their violations of international law,” the statement reads.
“Our sit-in, a demonstration of our solidarity with the Palestinian people currently confined in an open air prison, was solely centered around our objection to the Consulate General of Israel in Miami hosting an event at FIU, the presence of a ‘formal representative of the State of Israel,’ and the support of the representative from faculty, student senators who aren’t acting in the interests of the student body with the aim of pushing back our Ceasefire Now resolution, and Board of Trustees members, like Marc Sarnoff, who strongly supports Israeli apartheid.”