District Court Overturns Decision of Haifa University to Expel Three Arab Students


In a hearing today in the Haifa District Court, Justice Ginat overturned the decision of Professor Hayim Kutiel, head of the Haifa University Disciplinary Committee, to suspend three students – Shadi Khalilia, Raja Zaatra and Ahmad Abed el-Khalek, the head of the Arab Students Committee – and to bar them from entering the University campus until the end of the disciplinary hearings on their cases.


In a motion for a preliminary injunction submitted by Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Staff Attorneys Orna Kohn and Suhad Bishara argued that the decision made by Professor Kutiel, which he handed down prior to any disciplinary procedures, violated the basic rights of the students, including the right to due process. Such an interim decision, made in lieu of disciplinary procedures, ought only to occur in cases of clear and present danger, which did not reflect the situation at hand. The demonstration for which the students faced suspension passed quietly without incident and without disturbing the other students’ studies. Further, the attorneys argued Professor Kutiel based his decision on an invalid order. The order prohibited public assembly on the University campus during the first ten days of the academic year; however, only the President of the University, in consultation with the Rector, can issue such an order.


As a result of Justice Ginat’s decision, to which both sides agreed, these three students may enter their campus without hindrance until the end of the disciplinary hearings on their cases, with the same rights as any other student.