More than 200 Jewish students attending Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, were surprised to find "eviction notices" posted to their dorm room doors on Friday.
The students later found out that the fake notices were placed by the Students for Justice in Palestine.
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According to the Sun Sentinel, the group's stunt was aimed to draw attention to their claim that "about 25,000 homes have been demolished since the occupation of Palestine by Israeli troops began in 1967."
Rayna Exelbierd, a 20-year-old sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee, said "We're taking it very seriously. We're considering it a hate crime. The flier promotes hate; it doesn't promote peace. People were scared by it. People felt threatened by it."
Scott Brockman, Hillel executive director, said in a statement that, "While protecting and ensuring free speech on campus, the tactic used by Students for Justice in Palestine is unacceptable."
'People felt threatened.' The eviction notice
The tactic, he said, "Does not promote civil discourse on campus but provokes, incites and intimidates."
Brockman further claimed that posting the notices in the dormitories "compromises the university’s own value to 'create and maintain a clean and safe and secure environment in which students live and learn.'"
The Jewish students' campus organization, he added, is leaving the investigation up to the university, at this time: "We want a statement that Jewish students will be safe on campus and have a safe environment in which to live," he said.
According to the report, SJP has some 75 chapters across the United States that host Palestinian-awareness programs perceived by many as anti-Israel. The group advocates boycott campaigns and annual Israeli Apartheid Weeks.
In Atlantic University, the group has about 30 members.
"We want to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinians," chapter President Noor Fawzy said.
"The intent is to expose Israel's illegal policies and give students a feel of what it's like to live under occupation."
Fawzy said the group was thrilled with the response from other students: "We made a great impact on the student body. Having a table in the school's breezeway is one thing, but we have to look for other ways to get people's attention."
As for the questionable method the group chose, she said: "We have the right to express ourselves. There is no reason for the Jewish community to feel afraid."
According to the report no complaints were filed with campus police, but the Anti-Defamation League has contacted the university and is said to be monitoring the investigation.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams said in a statement Wednesday that using the county seal on the mock eviction notices, even with the disclaimer "not affiliated with county," is illegal and was meant "to scare or confuse students, which I am informed was the case in many instances."
FAU's Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Charles Brown released the following statement: "The University has received a number of inquiries following the recent posting of mock eviction notices in certain FAU residence halls.
"However… The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed."
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