Tensions were high at times on the San Jose State University Campus Thursday, as demonstrators supporting both Palestinian and Israeli causes rallied outside the student union building.
There were about two hundred people, mainly students, there in support of Palestinians, while Jewish student groups present highlighted those being held hostage by Hamas. At times, people on both sides shouted at each other.
It was the kind of tension that motivated Gov. Gavin Newsom to write a letter to California college systems insisting that they enforce safety policies as well as cultivate spaces for affinity and dialogue.
Representatives for both groups expressed a measure of support and skepticism for the letter, enough that both asked NBC Bay Area not to use their names.
“The problem I have with it is that it could propagate, basically, an image of protesters being violent,” said one representative.“We don’t want altercations. We really don’t want altercations. We just want our message to get across.”
A spokesperson for the Jewish group agreed with the governor’s sentiments.
“His message is very important and timely,” they said. “It is crucial for college students to get back to studying and to being welcome on campus and to feel safe.”
One professor, who has expressed concerns about safety on campus, wasn’t so sure about the governor’s approach.
“When you call attention to ‘violence on campus’ if it doesn’t exist, well, maybe you’re inadvertently raising tensions,” said Jonathan Roth.
SJSU said it plans to follow what the governor is asking for and allow both groups to continue their events as long as there is no physical confrontation.
Source: NBC Bay Area