(1) You have two panels, with outside speakers, planned on Palestine and the Palestinians. All of the speakers are anti-Israel activists. Meanwhile, you have two events planned regarding Israel, neither of which has a firm date, nor any speakers. How did it come to pass that programming on diversity and inclusion so prioritized anti-Israel voices, without at the same time scheduling anyone who might provide a contrary perspective?
(2) Speaking of the anti-Israel speakers, one of them, Fida Qishta, is the former Gaza coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-terrorist organization
. More specifically, its mission statement proclaims, “We recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle.” Do you believe that bringing such an individual to campus furthers the goals of inclusion and diversity, especially with regard to Israeli students and faculty, whom the ISM believes are legitimate targets of “armed struggle,” i.e., murder?
(a) shouldn’t a “dialogue” include participants who disagree with each other, rather than reinforce each other’s political positions?
(b) Spangler is a sociologist who, though she is in recent years an anti-Israel political activist, doesn’t appear to have any actual scholarly expertise on the subject of “Palestine,” nor, by all indications on her c.v., does she know Arabic. Why would Connecticut College bring in a political activist rather than a scholar of the subject to discuss the subject of the people and history of Palestine?
(c) Given the that you are an interim dean of “inclusion,” how do you justify bringing in a speaker who advocates boycotting Israel? Do you believe academic boycotts are consistent with inclusion?
(4) You have a speaker addressing “dehumanizing language” and violence. This seems pretty clearly aimed at the accusations leveled against Prof. Pessin. Do you plan to give Pessin an opportunity to be heard or to respond?
(5) Why are two scheduled sessions, and two unscheduled sessions, devoted to Israel/Palestine to begin with? Despite the Pessin controversy, goings-on in Israel/Palestine seem rather far afield from your mandate as a dean of equity and inclusion at Connecticut College, and there are no other foreign topics on the agenda. How would you respond to those who might allege that you are rewarding anti-Israel forces on campus for stirring the Pessin controversy by making Israel/Palestine such a prominent topic in College-sponsored events?