Associate Professor Jake Lynch has been cleared of accusations of anti-Semitism, following a protest at the University of Sydney last month.
However, Lynch continues to face misconduct proceedings that could see his employment at the University terminated. It is alleged that Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, breached the University’s code of conduct during the March 11 protest in which students disrupted a lecture by Richard Kemp, a well-known defender of Israel’s human rights record in Gaza.
Five student protesters have also been targeted for alleged misconduct, including Fahad Ali, President of Students for Justice in Palestine. Ali, a Palestinian, last week told New Matilda that he did not believe the University’s response was appropriate.
“I think on the whole these are minor allegations and usually these would not hold any serious weight. But I think in the course of this investigation they have been blown up and they will be dealt with as serious, even though they are not,” he said.
The University has also come under fire from the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, which has criticised attempts to curb protest rights with a code of conduct that NSWCCL President Stephen Blanks has described as “terribly vague”.
While the final outcome of the investigation remains to be seen, public disapproval of the University’s handling of this matter has grown. An open letter calling on the University to drop all charges has attracted over 1,600 signatories, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, world renowned academic Noam Chomsky, and Sydney Peace Prize recipient Julian Burnside.
Ali told AMUST that although the investigation was daunting, it had a silver lining. “Laughably, the conservative media circus has strengthened the position of Palestine advocates on campus by drawing attention to the injustices being committed by Israel on a regular basis.”