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Pro-Palestinian Colaition blasts UW boss over agreement criticism

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(The Center Square) – Pro-Palestinian protesters blasted the University of Wisconsin president for his criticism of their agreement with UW-Milwaukee’s chancellor.

The Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine ripped university president Jay Rothman and called on the governor and UW regents to fire him.

“Fresh from a career in the corporate law offices of Foley and Lardner, Mr. Rothman became the ninth president of the UW System in 2022. This professional background ill equips him to oversee vital university practices of diversity, academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression so essential to university life,” the Coalition said in a statement. “Unfortunately, his ineptitude with these concepts is manifest in the statement released by the UW System on the UWM agreements on May 15.”

That was the statement where Rothman was critical of the agreement between the pro-Palestinian protesters and UW-Milwaukee that ended protests on campus.

“Maintaining viewpoint neutrality on challenging public issues is critically important, especially in situations where students and other university stakeholders on multiple sides of an issue are in vehement disagreement. We also need to ensure that there is accountability and responsibility for actions taken on our campuses,” Rothman wrote on social media on May 14. “I am disappointed by the course taken by UW-Milwaukee, and I am continuing to assess the decision-making process that led to this result.”

The UW-M agreement referred to Hamas prisoners being held in Israeli jails as “hostages.”

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone on Tuesday apologized to Jewish students and Milwaukee’s Jewish community.

“It is clear to me that UWM should not have weighed in on deeply complex geopolitical and historical issues. And for that, I apologize,” Mone said in a statement. “Let me be clear: UWM resolutely condemns antisemitism, just as we do Islamophobia and all other forms of hatred. Our campus must be a place that welcomes all students and the full expression of their history, culture, identity and ethnicity.”

The Coalition for Justice in Palestine rejected Mone’s apology.

“Taken together, Rothman’s statement and that of the ADL, Milwaukee Hillel, and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation evidence the eruption of a new McCarthyism on campus. Despite the real and growing risk of antisemitism from white nationalists, the new McCarthyism invokes false allegations of antisemitism to shut down the legitimate claims and gains of Palestine solidarity activism on campus,” the Coalition added. “We call upon the governor and the board of regents to remove President Rothman. Presidents of universities need to be educators who can model patient discussions and are willing to take a moral stand on issues disproportionately affecting students of color.”

Rothman took to social media Tuesday to say he’s glad that Mone has “reassessed” his position.

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