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The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

Tensions rise on campus as students unfurl Israel and Palestine flags

Two groups of Simmons students, one wearing Israeli flags and one carrying and wearing Palestinian flags, sat across from each other on the residential quad on Sunday afternoon following a May Day celebration. 
Lily Boland

The Voice is choosing not to publish any images or student names in order to protect the identities of student protestors–a policy that is consistent with many major news outlets, including the Boston Globe. This is primarily due to concerns of doxxing.

Two groups of Simmons students, one wearing Israeli flags and one carrying and wearing Palestinian flags, sat across from each other on the residential quad on Sunday afternoon following a May Day celebration. 

According to a pro-Israel student, who was on the residential quad at the time, their group had just returned from “a rally in support of Jewish students facing antisemitism.” 

Another member of the pro-Israel group said in a statement to the Voice that before entering, the group “discussed whether or not to put the flags away, knowing the extremist opinions of many Simmons students,” but ultimately decided to keep them out. 

According to both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine students, pro-Palestine students gathered near the group and started taking pictures of the students who had just come back from the previously mentioned rally. 

Lily Boland

The pro-Palestine students chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Intifada,” according to the pro-Israel student previously mentioned. 

Four pro-Palestine students confirmed that they were chanting and singing, and said the pro-Israel group was taking pictures and videos of them as well. 

The Voice was able to obtain photos and videos of both groups and students. As previously mentioned, these photos and videos will be omitted from the article to protect students from doxxing concerns.

The pro-Israel student felt “extremely targeted and unsafe,” they told the Voice in a statement. 

The student told the Voice that they called public safety. Dr. Rachel Deleveaux, the Assistant Vice President of Organizational Culture, Inclusion, & Equity at Simmons, was also called.

However, another student from the pro-Israel group wrote to the Voice and claimed that “It became apparent to us that [the pro-Palestine group] called campus safety on [the pro-Israel group].”

By the time Deleveaux arrived, five students and the Simmons Hillel advisor were seated at one table with Israeli flags, and over 65 students were seated at and around several other tables with Palestinian flags. 

After approaching the groups, Deleveaux told both groups that she was not taking a side, but instead wanted to de-escalate the situation. 

However, according to the pro-Israel student, Deleveaux allegedly “complimented the [the pro-Palestine group] at the sound of their chants,” and that the presence of the pro-Israel group on the residential campus was “inciting other students.”

One Simmons student who was seated at a table with pro-Palestine protestors told the Voice that they felt they were “only able to get in a couple sentences in before being shut down, sidelined, or even ignored by Simmons administrators.” 

This student told the Voice that they were concerned about the “implications on other students and the messaging the [pro-Israel table] was giving off.”

While mitigating the conversation, Deleveaux called on students who were raising their hands to speak from both groups.

“If you’re talking about social justice and making a change, I’m not sure standing in a quad singing does that,” said Deleveaux, after asking both groups of students to take off the flags they were wearing. 

Deleveaux declined an on-the-record interview, but provided the Voice with a statement.

In the statement, Deleveaux wrote, “Sunday’s comment about social justice was an attempt to remind students that the causes they care passionately about will be more effectively advanced through advocacy rather than insulting and yelling at one another.” 

After almost forty minutes of discussion at which a Voice reporter was present, neither the pro-Israel nor pro-Palestine tables had taken off their flags. 

“It is peace day for god’s sakes,” said Deleveaux. “So y’all don’t want a solution. Y’all don’t want a solution.” 

According to the pro-Israel student, they left with “no assurance of civility or safety, and with renewed confirmation that [pro-Israel students] cannot display symbols of our identity on this campus without fear.”  

The second pro-Israel student that wrote to the Voice that “there was little, if any, recognition that this group had specifically chosen to target Jewish and Israeli students who are proud of their identity.” The student also claimed, “This would not have happened if any other group of students wore their country or their culture’s flag on our campus.”

The Voice reached out to Simmons Jewish Voices for Peace, Simmons Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the advisor for Simmons Hillel but did not receive a response in time for publication.

This article was updated for clarification on May 1 at 6:41 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Olivia Ray
Olivia Ray, Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Ray (2024, she/her) is a Journalism major with minors in Political Science, History, and Integrated Media and has been writing for the Voice since her freshman year. She is also a member of the Honors program and Simmons University Dance Company. She is passionate about cycling, good coffee, affordable housing, and all things student-driven media.
Grace Tamborella
Grace Tamborella, News Editor
Grace Tamborella (2024, she/her) is a Journalism major with minors in Integrated Media and Radio. She is from the South Shore of Massachusetts. She loves her pets, music, traveling, and being involved in student-driven media!
Lily Boland
Lily Boland, Graphics Editor
Lily Boland (2027, she/her) is majoring in Arts Administration and Communications on the Digital Communications and Design track respectively. She is a member of the Honors program and the Sidelines Magazine team. Outside of student-driven media, she enjoys solving NYT crossword puzzles, exploring museums, and grabbing a cannoli with friends in the North End.

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