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### Activists Urge Pitzer College to Suspend Israel Study Abroad Program

Pro-Palestine activists at Scripps College in October.

(Claremont Independent)

Approximately 200 students from the Claremont Colleges gathered at Pitzer College on Friday, February 2nd, to urge the suspension of Pitzer’s academic partnership with the University of Haifa, an Israeli academic institution that currently serves as a direct-enroll study abroad option for Pitzer students.

As per a social media [post/tweet] from Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), in collaboration with Claremont Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), the protesters insisted that “Pitzer College must halt its program with the University of Haifa until Israeli universities cease their involvement in Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing,” emphasizing that “Pitzer College must adhere to the Palestinian-led call to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.”

The students congregated at the Pitzer clock tower to listen to brief speeches by the event’s organizers before proceeding to the Broad Center to present their demands to Pitzer administrators. Although President Strom Thacker was not in attendance, demonstrators had the opportunity to address Dean of Faculty Allen Omoto. Subsequent to the meeting, the protesters marched through the building for approximately thirty minutes.

The partnership between Pitzer College and the University of Haifa has long been a focal point for activists within the Claremont Colleges. In 2018, the Pitzer faculty senate and College Council voted to conditionally suspend the study abroad program in Haifa; however, the decision was vetoed by then-President Melvin Oliver. In April 2023, SJP [relaunched/restarted] the campaign to suspend the program. Since its revival, more than 140 Pitzer alumni have pledged to withhold donations from the College until the activists’ demands are addressed.