St Louis University Student Faces Disciplinary Action
for Asking Questions at Pro-Israel Event
I am Christopher Winston, chairman of Saint Louis Progressive Students Organization, a revolutionary mass organization founded in January of this year to unite all revolutionary and progressive minded youth in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Area. I am also a sophomore at Saint Louis University, pursuing a B.A. in History and African-American Studies, with a minor in Political Science. On April 4th, I attended an Atlas Week presentation hosted by two members of the University’s Jewish Students’ Association, titled “Israeli Humanitarian Aid to the World”. The presentation essentially served as Zionist propaganda, showing the settler-colonial imperialist watchdog known as “Israel” in an extremely positive light, and skirting the primary contradiction and issue, that of Palestine. There were several outright lies. The Palestinian people residing in Gaza and the West Bank were regarded as nonentities at best and terrorists at worst. I did not interrupt, disrupt, or ask questions during the presentation section of the event, out of respect for a Muslim friend who was also present at the event and wanted things to remain as civil as possible. When the time for questions came, however, I asked questions. I asked about the Israeli ambulances and the fact that they do not pick up Palestinians, and also mentioned the fact that Red Crescent ambulances have come under attack by Israeli settlers and soldiers.
This was met with extreme hostility by the two individuals hosting the event. One individual threatened to have DPS, the campus police force, come to remove me from the room, and said that “If you want to have a discussion regarding the conflict between Israel and Palestine, this is not the event for it”. He also slandered the Palestinian people and their national liberation struggle, saying that they’re under the rule of terrorists, and then proceeded to justify the bombings and attacks that have destroyed Gazan hospitals and medical facilities, using the same tired and warmed over canards about them being occupied by terrorists. I remained for the entire event, and said as I left, in reference to the two individuals that were hosting the event, “Thank you, your Zionist fascism is on full display today.”
At no time during this event did I use anti-Semitic language or slurs. My struggle and the struggle of progressive minded people everywhere is against the atrocities committed by the murderous Zionist regime in Israel that seeks the extermination or displacement of the Palestinian masses as a whole to fulfill its settler-colonial designs to occupy all of Palestine. Roughly a week after the event, I received an email from the Department of Student Responsibility and Community Standards stating that I was the subject of a complaint, presumably filed by the two members of Jewish Student Association, and was to report to this office to “hear your perspective of the situation and find out any information about it that you can share”.
This meeting took place on April 15. At it, I gave a correct account of the situation, and was also presented with a “No Contact Order”, which is essentially an order of protection issued by this department that states that I am to have no contact with either of these two individuals either in person or through electronic means, as I pose a “threat to their safety, health and well-being”. I was the only Black individual that was present at this event, and was the only one that was threatened with the police and physical removal from the room. This, essentially, serves to further show the disparities and contradictions that are present at this University.
Chairman, Progressive Students Organization (STL)
SLU ‘18, History/African American Studies
Video of Christopher’s exchange at the event "Israeli Humanitarian Aid around the World" can be seen here.
Christopher has been summoned to a hearing on Monday, May 2 at 11 am by the St. Louis University Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards to determine if the University believes that he is in violation of the University’s Community Standards. Two pro-Israel students who were present at the event reported Christopher for bias speech.