The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

3 students placed on deferred suspension following Dec. 1 Huskies for a Free Palestine sit-in

Jessica Xing
Students sit around a scroll at the Dec. 1 sit-in on the second floor of Curry Student Center. Three students charged with Code of Student Conduct violations after the sit in were found responsible last week.

All three students charged with violations of the Code of Student Conduct after a Huskies for a Free Palestine sit-in Dec. 1 were found responsible in their hearings with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and have been placed on deferred suspension, The News confirmed with charged students Tuesday. 

According to one of the charged students, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of further retaliation, they were notified about the results of their hearing via email Friday. 

The students were all charged with four violations, which were disorderly conduct, noncompliance, noise and violation of university policies.

The first student confirmed to The News they were found responsible for each charge except for noise. A second student said they were found responsible for each charge but failure to comply. The third student declined to speak to The News.

According to the first student, three meetings were held between all of the charged students and the hearing administrator. The first hearing was held Jan. 10 and the third hearing, which was called because “new information” was acquired, was held Jan. 19, the student said. The News could not confirm the date of the second hearing. 

The three students received deferred suspensions until the end of the spring 2024 semester, which the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, or OSCCR, defines as “the highest level of warning issued by the University.” The first student also said they would have to write “essays” by March 1 detailing what happened, why the students’ actions were wrong and why the policies they were accused of violating are in place. The second student said all three of the charged students received the same punishment. 

“Northeastern takes all violations of its Code of Student Conduct seriously and enforces all policies uniformly and irrespective of student group affiliations,” said Renata Nyul, vice president for communications at the university, in an email statement to The News. “The university does not comment on specific conduct cases.”

When a student is on deferred suspension, they are allowed to take classes, live in residence halls and participate in university events, however, they are barred from holding leadership positions in clubs and may be “limited in their ability to attend University programs, including those outside the country.” The OSCCR website also states that deferred suspension is a warning “to remind the student that should any other incident occur, more severe sanctions may result.” 

According to the first charged student, three different Northeastern University Police Department, or NUPD, officers spoke against the students at the hearing. The student said the NUPD officers considered them a “leader” at the Huskies for a Free Palestine, or HFP, sit-in because they were “facilitating communication” between officers and sit-in participants. 

According to the second charged student, who said they gave a speech, read poetry and led chants at the sit-in, the NUPD report which charged them with conduct violations included language saying the student was “aggressive” and “enraged.”

“Despite the admission of admin and police in their report that the demonstration was entirely peaceful, the NUPD report used racist language to describe my participation in chants as ‘aggressive,’ ‘enraged’ and that they were ‘afraid’ to talk to me,” the student told The News.

The first charged student said at the hearing, officers said the charged students didn’t comply because they didn’t vacate the sit-in area, located on the second floor of the Curry Student Center, when asked. 

“I’m very frustrated because it feels like this is hearsay and they’re just trying to pin this on somebody,” the first student said in an interview with The News. “I feel like none of my witness statements were considered. I feel like whatever the dean and deputy said was more valued than my voice.”

The first student said they felt the charges were “exaggerated.” Officers at the hearings referred to them as a self-identified student leader, even though the student said they did not make that distinction, the student told The News.

“I think the university is trying to silence students at the moment and intimidate us through threatening sanctions and through this process,” they said. “But by pinning three students who actually weren’t even organizers — instead of all 200 that were doing the same things — it’s all just to distract and instill fear.”

The outcome of the hearings was also announced in a post on HFP’s Instagram page Tuesday. The post said one of the charged students was a volunteer “cornered” by administrators at the rally and another was a police liaison who did not participate in sit-in activities.

“After over a month of disciplinary procedure, students charged for participating in our December 1st sit-in received notice that they are now essentially on probation- prohibited from holding EBoard positions and threatened with suspension or expulsion if the university once again fabricates reasons to charge them,” the Instagram post stated, emphasizing HFP’s belief that the university was singling out the three students out of more than 200 that attended the sit-in.

Sit-in participants were first notified of potential disciplinary action Dec. 13, according to a Dec. 16 HFP Instagram post. The group held an “emergency rally” against the disciplinary hearings Jan. 10 on Krentzman Quad for three of the students involved. At the rally, NUPD officers requested to see students’ IDs, however, not all students complied.

In the Instagram post announcing the outcome of the hearings, HFP said they will be marching with the Boston Coalition for Palestine Sunday at 1 p.m. at Roxbury Crossing to call on Northeastern to drop the disciplinary actions against the three students and to divest from military-industrial companies supplying weapons to Israel.

“At the end of the day, I think what should be centered is divestment. I feel like [the university] is trying to use these trials and punitive measures to distract and take away attention from the momentum [of the movement],” the first student said. “They’re essentially trying to repress students and make them fearful of having the right to free speech and of having the right to political expression.”

About the Contributors
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
Laura Emde, Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Laura Emde is a third-year media and screen studies and journalism major with a minor in music industry. She is one of the current deputy lifestyle editors and has previously been a part of The News as a social media team member, copy editor and staff writer. She says to stream "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)."
Jessica Xing, Photo Editor
Jessica Xing is a third-year graphic design major with a minor in journalism. She has previously served as deputy photo editor and design editor, and is excited to continue working with photographers for The News this semester.
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