Pro-Palestinian students from UofR, Nazareth, RIT, MCC complain about censorship
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Students from University of Rochester, Nazareth University, RIT and MCC say they feel the schools are censoring them because they stand with Palestine.
They voiced that concern at another protest near the U of R campus.
The students stood on public property across from the U of R’s Public Safety Department and said they feel the schools suppress and censor anyone who expresses support for the Palestinian cause during the Israel-Hamas war.
Following a number of protests after the Hamas terror attacks of October 7 and the subsequent retaliation attacks by Israel in Gaza, U of R changed its protest policy in late November to include a three day notice of a protest. Most schools, like RIT and Nazareth, require an application or reservation before a protest.
Students from those schools explained how they feel they have been treated by school policies and talked to by school leaders.
“Calling for a cease fire is the absolute minimum,” said U of R student Omar Darweish. “And it is this call that we are being censored for.”
“The first meeting I attended, they asked me if I supported Hamas,” MCC student Seja Mustafa said after she met with MCC leadership. “She didn’t ask me if I was okay. She didn’t ask me how my family was doing. She didn’t ask me if I had Palestinian family in Palestine. She didn’t ask any of those questions. She asked me if I support Hamas.”
“Nazareth University is capable of doing far more than it has done in the past,” one unnamed Nazareth student said. “Students who took it upon themselves to inquire or express support for Palestine found themselves being referred to the same Zionist, historical jargon of Israel’s right to the land or declared anti-Semetic.”
“Every question insinuated is: Will it be violent? Are the speakers qualified? Will people feel unsafe?” said one unnamed RIT student. “Why would we be violent? Why would we be violent when we’re calling for a cease-fire?”
In their sections on gatherings and protests, most school affirm the right of free speech and assembly but the policies have restrictions on “time, place and manner.”
Nazareth University emailed News10NBC and wrote, “Nazareth University fully supports our students’ right to stand up for their beliefs in a peaceful and respectful manner.”