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Tufts University

A Tufts University sign at the intersection of College Avenue and Professors Row on Nov. 4, 2015.

A Jewish student at Tufts University who claims that he has been the subject months-long campaign of anti-Semitic intimidation, harassment and discrimination is calling on the university to intervene.

Max Price, a junior who is a member of the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ), which is tasked with fact-checking student government legislation, has been outspoken against an SJP proposal to include its “Deadly Exchange Campaign” referendum in the student election ballot.

“Mr. Price has been subjected to anti-Semitic harassment targeting him on the basis of his ethnic and ancestral Jewish identity,” stated a letter written by Price’s lawyers to Tufts University president Anthony Monaco, Tufts general counsel Mary Jeka and Tufts provost Nadine Aubry.

The referendum blames Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel for fueling what they call “racist conduct” by law enforcement in the United States and seeks to link Israel to white supremacy and police brutality.

The campaign was initially launched by SJP in the spring of 2018 to demand that the university end military training trips for the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD), according to The Tufts Daily, the student newspaper at the university.

The paper quotes SJP member Molly Tunis, who said that the group started the campaign after it learned that Kevin Maguire, executive director of public safety and chief of TUPD, attended a training trip with the Israeli military in December 2017.

“As someone who has spoken out for racial justice and against police brutality, I was appalled SJP was attempting to spread blatantly baseless claims to the entire student body that Israel and Jews are responsible for institutional racism and police brutality in the U.S.,” said Price.

“As soon as I spoke up to correct the misinformation and the lies, I was targeted and marginalized—called a racist, a fascist, a Nazi, an enemy of progress, slandered in the student newspaper and told I had to recuse myself from my elected position, and most recently, threatened with impeachment and removal from the student government,” he added.

Price’s lawyers, who are from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, claim that Price endured a months-long campaign of intimidation, harassment and discrimination for speaking against SJP’s attempt to include the referendum on the ballot.

The harassment included Price being made to sit through interrogations by Tufts student-government leadership about his personal beliefs and identity as a pro-Israel Jew, according to the lawyers. Even after the TCUJ determined that there was no evidence of bias and no need for Price to recuse himself, he was placed on “mute” for the entire final Zoom meeting when TCUJ members considered the referendum.

Price’s lawyers also charge that members of the TCU Senate, which is set to preside over Price’s hearing, have made statements that utilize anti-Semitic tropes about money and power; indicate explicit support for SJP and its referendum; and demonstrate personal bias against Price.

“Harassing, marginalizing, demonizing and excluding these Jewish students on the basis of the Zionist components of their Jewish identity is just as unlawful and discriminatory as attacking a Jewish student for observing the Sabbath and keeping kosher,” wrote LDB lawyers in their letter to Tufts officials. “It is imperative that the university take prompt and effective steps to protect Mr.  Price by halting the upcoming disciplinary hearing and ending the harassment and discrimination.”

To date, Price’s lawyers say that the university administration has dismissed the letter.

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