CMC Presents Finding on SJP Investigation

Following an investigation, 5C administrators appeared to clear professor of economics Yaron Raviv in a verbal harassment charge brought by Najib Hamideh PZ '15 last month, and instead criticized Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), for allegedly violating campus protest policy while the interaction with the professor took place.

The administration declined to comment on yesterday's closed-door presentation of its findings to Hamideh, but Hamideh's account of what was said was confirmed by his academic adviser, Pitzer professor of history and anthropology Dan Segal. Hamideh said he was disappointed with the apparently one-sided investigation and will now launch a formal complaint.

Pitzer Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Marchant and CMC Dean of Students Mary Spellman were present at the meeting with Hamideh and Segal, announcing the finding that Raviv did not verbally harass Hamideh at a street theater protest action outside Collins Dining Hall March 4. Both deans declined to comment for this story.

Raviv was not present at the meeting. CMC Dean of Faculty Gregory Hess was present until Hamideh asked him to leave because of his conflict of interest.

“Dean Hess was the administrator that recruited Raviv to become a CMC professor and has published academic papers with him,” Hamideh said. 

“[Hess] clearly should have not been leading an investigation on somebody that is tied to his academic reputation,” Segal added.

Hamideh and Segal said that Spellman presented them with a confidential CMC statement explaining that Raviv had apologized through a previous confidential written statement. Both Hamideh and Segal said that this claim is “a factual error.”

“We asked when and where this happened, and Spellman said that it was in another confidential document that you saw at another meeting that you weren’t allowed to take out of the room,” Segal said. “If you say that somebody has apologized, I think you normally would assume that such apology is something that can be heard by others. It is misleading. The only place where this supposed apology appears is in a confidential written document that no copies have been allowed to circulate.”

Hamideh also expressed concern that the Campus Safety report describing the interaction that was filed after the incident was not considered.

“They failed to include the Campus Safety report or all the people that confirm what my statement says. They have chosen to privilege the views of the professor,” Hamideh said.

Hamideh now intends to file an official grievance against the professor, which will be reviewed by a panel of CMC faculty; the investigation that concluded yesterday was part of an unofficial process. He said he is worried that the future investigation will also include misleading information.

“There is a possibility that the things he included in his grievance have been included in the investigation, even though he is the only person to verify those statements,” Hamideh said.

CMC also ruled that SJP was in violation of the student demonstration policy by “engaging people in front of [Collins Dining Hall] doors.”

“Campus policy says you can’t block movement, but it does not say that you must ensure that people can move without engagement. When you are at an entrance, and you have to listen to what people are saying, there is no violation of campus policy,” Segal said.