Pro-Palestinian group to return to Northeastern

A Northeastern University student group suspended earlier this year over a controversial leafleting campaign in support of Palestinian rights will be allowed to resume campus activities this fall.

Students for Justice in Palestine will be fully reinstated early next year if it meets conditions agreed upon during negotiations with college administrators in recent weeks, according to the organization’s outgoing president and a letter from the university.

The group already has elected new officers for the fall, when it will return on probationary status, and begun discussions about hosting campus events that would explore the wider political context for its aims, according to Tori Porell, 22, the outgoing president, who is graduating.


“We feel like it’s been a great victory, and it really shows the power of our ability to organize,” Porell said in an interview. “We generated unprecedented levels of attention but also cooperation on this issue.”

Porell said that cooperation included support from Jewish groups on and off campus. She said support for reinstatement came from many who disagreed with positions the group took but endorsed members’ rights to express their beliefs.

The university suspended the organization in March after members slipped 600 “mock eviction” notices under dorm room doors to draw attention to the Israeli government’s forced evictions of Palestinians.

A Northeastern spokeswoman said in March that the group had flouted rules, vandalized property, and failed to deliver a “civility statement” outlining conduct policies, required after it was put on probation last year following a walkout at a campus presentation by Israeli soldiers.

Laura A. Wankel, vice president for student affairs at Northeastern, described the group’s suspension as appropriate and outlined conditions of its reinstatement in a letter to the group’s leaders dated April 16 and provided to the Globe by the university Tuesday.

The conditions include complying with the organization’s own constitution and university rules for student groups; developing programs on political issues; meeting monthly with an associate dean who helped broker the agreement; and working with the associate dean to develop organizational and leadership training plans for the group.


In a statement, Northeastern said the university works to encourage “the free exchange of ideas in an environment of mutual respect for differing views” and wants all student groups to operate within that context.

“We are pleased that SJP has elected to make substantial changes to its organization and begin a process of constructive engagement,” it said.

Porell said that under the agreement with Northeastern, she hopes the group can return its focus to “getting our real message across instead of fighting for our ability to do that.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.