Haifa University Consents to Mediation Instead of Disciplinary Proceedings and Cancels Temporary Suspension of Eight Palestinian Students Following Adalah’s Legal Intervention

The students were suspended until the conclusion of proceedings following alleged "support of terrorism" on social media.

On 6 January 2024, the University of Haifa canceled its decision to temporarily suspend eight Palestinian students, citizens of Israel, currently undergoing disciplinary proceedings, following an appeal filed by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. 


On 24 December 2023, just days before the resumption of university studies, the University filed an urgent request to suspend all eight students until the end of disciplinary proceedings. Following the approval of this request by the university’s disciplinary committee, Adalah submitted a request for a reexamination, emphasizing that the committee's decision failed to specify the potential harm caused by the students' presence, instead, it relied on vague security concerns and exhibited clear hostility towards the students. The request further argued that suspending the students while their cases are still pending adversely affects their ability to pursue their academic studies.


    Click here to read the request for reexamination (Hebrew).


The university initially suspended the students on 8-9 October 2023, immediately after the beginning of the war, and complaints were filed against them for alleged violations of the university's code of conduct, with the university contending that the students' social media posts expressed support for the attack on October 7. In summarily suspending them without a hearing, the university violated their fundamental due process rights. In the recent request made prior to the resumption of studies, the University asserted that the presence of the students on campus could lead to "extreme situations" and pose an immediate threat to campus safety, necessitating prompt preventive actions.


The university disciplinary committee held a hearing on 28 December 2023, during which Adalah attorney Adi Mansour argued that the request was illegal, noting that it did not individually examine each student's case, and failed to provide specific reasons for their suspension and removal from the university campus. Attorney Mansour further emphasized the severe harm caused by the temporary suspension, the hostile and adversarial approach towards the students, and demanded that the request be rejected outright. 


Subsequently, on 29 December, the disciplinary committee granted the request, approving the students’ suspension until the end of proceedings, while acknowledging that the decision creates a “period of uncertainty”. 


Despite the serious accusations and extreme arguments presented in the University's motion to suspend the students until the conclusion of their proceedings, on 4 January, the University informed Adalah that it is open to conducting a mediation process for all the disciplinary cases it initiated. In response to this development, Adalah filed a request for reexamination against the temporary suspension, arguing that it infringes upon the students' rights, constituting a de facto punishment. This arbitrary measure not only undermines the students' rights but also significantly hampers their academic pursuits. The University did not object to Adalah’s request, and the disciplinary officer reversed the decision, allowing the students to return to campus on 6 January. 


These proceedings are part of over 120 disciplinary cases monitored by Adalah against Palestinian students in Israeli higher education institutions initiated since 7 October 2023. Allegations are based on the students’ social media posts, with many expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza. Some posts are unrelated to the war or Hamas, while others provide context to the attack by Palestinian militants on October 7 or quote verses from the Quran.


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Adalah attorney Adi Mansour added:


"The university's decision to cancel the suspension of the students and opt for mediation is a positive development. While the disciplinary proceedings should never have been initiated in the first place, and the process was marred by hostility and racism. We urge the university to demonstrate responsibility and mitigate the harm already caused to students by these proceedings. It is crucial to address the prevailing sentiment that the current university climate poses a threat to the security of Palestinian students."