Adalah Asks University of Haifa to Cancel Ban on Arab Student Leader


Yesterday, Adalah sent a letter to the University of Haifa seeking the cancellation of an order issued by the university's security department on 13 May 2002. The order barred Ms. Kholud Badawi, the head of the National Arab Students Union, from entering the university campus, claiming that she had participated in two demonstrations that were held at the university without required permits.

In the letter, Adalah Staff Attorney Gadeer Nicola wrote that the University of Haifa, being a quasi-public place and the major intellectual and cultural center in the North, should not deny anyone the right of entry to its campus without careful consideration and the most unequivocal justification. Barring Ms. Badawi from the university in such a sweeping manner constitutes a violation of rights protected by the Law of Prohibition of Discrimination in Products and Services and in Entry to Entertainment and Public Facilities (2000).

Further, Adalah argued that the head of the security department does not have the authority to issue such sweeping orders, and that as such, the order is without legal basis. The order violated Ms. Badawi's basic right to a fair hearing, Adalah wrote, as she was not given an opportunity to defend herself against the security department's allegations. Further, Adalah argued that the decision prevents Ms. Badawi from fulfilling her duties as head of the National Arab Students Union. In the letter, Adalah stated that it would file a petition to the Haifa District Court if the university did not respond to its request.

Adalah has previously handled three similar cases in which Arab students were barred from entering the University of Haifa campus by the head of the security department, without legal basis and without the opportunity to defend themselves. In all cases, the university failed to respond to Adalah's demand to change the policy of allowing the head of the security department to issue such sweeping orders.