Student group ignites tension over free speech at Williams College on The Berkshire Eagle

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A request by students to create a group supportive of Israel was rejected by the student government, the College Council, in late April, amid accusations that the group’s beliefs did not fit the moral values of the student body. In the face of complaints from national right-leaning news outlets, Jewish organizations and free speech groups, the college’s president and administration intervened, ultimately reversing the rejection in mid-May. When the campus comes back to life this fall, the Williams Initiative for Israel, or WIFI, will be a registered student organization, having full access to funding and services available to official student groups. But along the way, its birth sparked debates over pro-Israeli thought in the United States, scrutiny of how student groups win approval and the nature of campus political debate and free expression… Mohazzab Abdullah, a student who spoke against WIFI at meetings, said such rhetoric is similar to treating free speech like a “buzzword.”
“Free speech arguments need to be qualified,” Abdullah said. “I think that this campus should exclude and suppress pro-genocide discourse.”

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