University of Florida hands down years-long suspensions to pro-Hamas rioters

The seven students have reportedly submitted appeals to overturn their punishments that are pending.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

The University of Florida (UF) has handed down severe and potentially life-altering punishments to seven pro-Hamas rioters who participated in occupying the campus in an attempt to intimidate officials into boycotting and divesting from Israel, according to Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the university’s College of Journalism and Communications.

UF’s disciplinary body was set on slapping the students’ wrists, sentencing most to probation only based on recommendations from “hearing bodies,” until its new dean, Chris Summerlin, intervened and issued full suspensions for as many as four years.

The harshest suspensions — including four years for Allan Hektor Frasheri, 21, and three years for other students — while not being formal expulsions, are long enough to make it unlikely that the students serving them will return to the University of Florida.

The seven students have reportedly submitted appeals to overturn their punishments that are pending.

Summerlin’s suspensions may not be the only consequences that the students will face.

According to Fresh Take Florida, the students were part of a group of nine that were arrested by local law enforcement for trespassing and resisting arrest, charges that are being prosecuted by the Alachua County State Attorney’s Office.

Read  WATCH: Orioles fans boo pro-Hamas supporters out of Camden Yards

They are taking their chances at trial, the news service added, noting that all nine have rejected “deferred prosecution,” an agreement that would require them to plead guilty, or no contest, in exchange for the state’s expunging the convictions from their records in the future so long as they abstain from committing more criminal acts.

One of the nine, computer science student Parker Stanely Hovis, 26, — who was suspended for three years — proclaimed on Tuesday that they will contest the state’s cases.

“We did not resist arrest, and we are prepared to fight our charges,” Hovis said in a statement. “We’re standing in solidarity with each other, and collectively demanding that the state drop the charges against us.”

The University of Texas at Austin has also meted out lengthy suspensions to pro-Hamas protesters who violated school rules, a course of action that experts believe is a deterrent against similar behavior in the future.

Three students have been sentenced to deferred suspensions, a form of probation which allows them to continue their studies so long as they comply with school rules going forward, according KUT News, a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate.

As part of their punishment, they must pass an exam testing their knowledge of school policies on free speech and protests and formally declare their awareness of the harsher, full suspensions they will receive should they violate school rules again.

Read  Views from the front

One student, KUT added, was given a “full” two-year suspension during which he is banned from campus. The suspension effectively disenrolled him from the university, but he can reapply for readmission in 2026.

“The University of Texas at Austin provided a world-class learning environment where every student can thrive,” said a letter, as quoted by the outlet, sent to one of the students who was placed on deferred suspension.

“At this juncture, suspension appears to be the appropriate consequences for these serious infractions.”

It continued, “However, recognizing your commitment to educational growth, we want to offer you an alternative path to avoid suspension by proving that you have learned from this experience. We offer you the choice to accept a deferred suspension.”

Administrators and faculty have also been disciplined for their conduct amid a wave of anti-Israel demonstrations that upended campus life at universities across the US this past semester.

On Monday, Columbia University announced that three administrators have been placed on involuntary leave for sharing communications which “disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes” while serving on the job, president Minouche Shafik said in a statement.

The action followed an explosive Washington Free Beacon report which revealed that administrators Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, Matthew Patashnick, and Josef Sorett, who is dean of Columbia College, sent a series of text messages which denigrated Jews while spurning their concerns about rising antisemitism and the fate of Israel, denouncing them as “privileged” and venal.

Read  University of Texas at Austin disciplines pro-Hamas rioters

“Whether intended as such or not, these sentiments are unacceptable and deeply upsetting, conveying a lack of seriousness about the concerns and experiences of members of our Jewish community that is antithetical to our university’s values and the standards we must uphold in our community,” Shafik said.

“We are taking action that holds those involved in this incident accountable … more broadly, we will launch a vigorous program of antisemitism and antidiscrimination [sic] training for faculty and staff this fall, with related training for students under the auspices of university life.”

>