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Students Suspended for Disrupting Meeting

Five students at the University of Illinois Circle Campus have been suspended for violently disrupting a campus celebration of Israel’s 30th anniversary of independence last May, it was announced by Robin Handelman, chairman of the College Age Youth Services (CAYS) committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Sylivia Neil, American Jewish Congress legal counsel and attorney for the students who brought the charges.

The five students were among approximately 100 Arab-led students who broke up the May 11 celebration by shouting, fighting and destroying property. University police were unable to contain the disrupters, who earlier had pledged to hold a “peaceful counter-demonstration.” The violence at Circle Campus last May marked the fifth consecutive year that Arab-inspired groups had attempted to disrupt university-approved student celebrations of Israel’s independence sponsored by B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation and the CAYS committee.

The decision was called a “precedent-setting ruling, that will ensure against the disruption of free speech and academic freedom centering around Israel programs at the University of Illinois Circle Campus,” by Rabbi Joel Poupko, Hillel-CAYS director for Illinois. Ms. Neil, who headed a team of lawyers that represented the Jewish students in the campus hearings, said that the university disciplinary panel of students and faculty found the five guilty of violating the Student Senate Judiciary Code. The trial took four months. Four students were suspended for two academic quarters, another for one quarter. One of the two other defendants in the case was found not guilty; the second, though found guilty and suspended for two quarters, is no longer in school, Ms. Neil said.

CORRECTION: Due to an error in overseas transmission, a story in the Dec. 18 Bulletin on the consumer price index in Israel reported an annual inflation rate of 10.1 percent. It should have stated the rate as 101 percent.

REMINDER: There will be no Bulletin dated Dec. 25 due to postal holiday.

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