Hundreds of Brandeis Alumni Threaten to Stop Donations Unless pro-Palestinian Group Reinstated

In a letter addressed to the president of Brandeis, the alumni said they would withdraw funding unless the university walks back its decision to effectively ban the group Students for Justice for Palestinian from holding events on campus

Hundreds of alumni of Brandeis University threatened on Friday to withhold donations from their alma mater unless it lifts its ban on a prominent pro-Palestinian student group. They also demanded that the university issue a formal apology for allegedly authorizing police to use violence to break up a demonstration last week on campus protesting the ban.

Brandeis announced two weeks ago that it was withdrawing recognition of the campus branch of Students for Justice for Palestinian on the grounds that the group supports Hamas. The decision, in effect, means that SJP will not be eligible any longer for university funding or for space on campus for holding events.

In a letter addressed to Brandeis President Ronald Liebowitz, the alumni charged that police used violence last week against three students, community members and a legal observer while attempting to break up the protest. Indeed, a video posted on X from shows police using force to physically restrain a protester.

“We pledge to withhold any donations to Brandeis University until it reverses course to allow free speech on campus by re-chartering the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, apologizing to the protesters who were harmed, and refusing to allow police to attack peaceful protesters,” the letter said. “Brandeis should also work with local police to ensure any charges against students are dropped.”

Several wealthy alumni of Harvard, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania have in recent week announced plans to end donations to their schools to protest what they see as their administrations’ weak responses to antisemitism on campus as well as to the October 7 terrorist massacre in Israel.

This would be the first time that a group of alumni is threatening to stop donations to protest treatment of pro-Palestinian students.

On Thursday, the ACLU filed a suit against the state of Florida for ordering the deactivation of SJP chapters at publicly-funded universities in the state. Since Brandeis is a private university, it is unlikely to face such legal challenges.