07 September 2014

Socialist Alternative student club deregistered after bullying Jewish student

From The Age, Victoria,September 5, 2014:

...Socialist Alternative was deregistered as a club by the Monash University Student Association on Tuesday, the same day a student from the same group at La Trobe University was threatened with expulsion following allegations of harassment of a Jewish student on campus.

The Monash association has simply said the Socialist Alternative is "prejudicial to the interests of clubs and  societies"...The deregistration would mean the group can no longer hold political meetings or information stalls at Monash University's Clayton campus.

The events at Monash University follow investigations by La Trobe University into allegations of harassment and intimidation of a Jewish student on campus.

[Ryan Higginson] Socialist Alternative member at La Trobe University said he received a letter from the university threatening expulsion for intimidating the student...

The student making the complaints at La Trobe, Jessica Cornish, 25, is now represented by Arnold Bloch Leibler in her complaints of harassment and intimidation against the Socialist Alternative and Students for Palestine.

She said that after she voted down a motion condemning Israeli's "ethnic  cleansing" and "genocide" in Gaza, posters were pasted on campus walls accusing her of supporting genocide. She also faced taunts by the students who called her a "Zionist piece of shit" and "genocidal pig".  at the end of July, believing it to be "inciting violence" she faced hundreds of posters pasted on campus naming her and accusing her of supporting genocide. She also faced taunts by the students who called her a "Zionist piece of shit" and "genocidal pig".

"It's been the worst semester I've ever had," Ms Cornish said.

"I've missed so much class. I haven't been able to concentrate. I'm very stressed," the speech pathology student said.

...in a document leaked to The Age, a former member of the Socialist Alternative, who chose not to be named, said the Socialist Alternative  was "known to shut down and intimidate students with opposing views", to "bully other students" and to engage in "cultish behaviour".

"They are known to surround students from opposing factions and shout them down and reportedly physically assault them," he wrote.

He noted a recent student conference "in which 60-80 members of the SA [Socialist Alternative] surround three or four members of the Student Unity in a corner and went ballistic. Many prominent members of the Monash SA were involved in orchestrating this."

He also said the group would interrupt lectures to advertise an event  and members have "at times physically resisted" when removed from lectures.