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University of Southern California censures president and provost for handling of anti-Israel protests, commencement cancellation

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The University of Southern California faculty censured their own president and provost this week over the administration’s handling of anti-Israel protests and the decision to cancel the main commencement ceremony for its graduating class.

The USC Academic Senate voted 21-7 in favor of censuring the university’s president, Carol Folt, and provost, Andrew Guzman. Six members of the faculty body abstained from voting, reports National Review.

USC leaders initially canceled the valedictorian Asna Tabassum’s commencement speech, who holds pro-Palestinian views and has made anti-Semitic and hateful comments publicly. The the entire ceremony itself was scrapped later, with the university claiming its actions were due to safety concerns following the arrest of 93 anti-Israel protesters on campus.

There was “widespread dissatisfaction and concern among the faculty about administrative decisions and communication related to these events,” the censure resolution states.The threats “escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement,” Guzman said in a campus-wide letter on April 15.

Now that the censure resolution has passed, USC will create a task force to investigate the university leadership’s response to those events. The task force is expected to present a public report of its findings by September 15, according to the document. Both Folt and Guzman are expected to fully cooperate with the task force’s investigation.

“I understand there are many different viewpoints among members of the Trojan Community regarding our recent decisions,” Folt said in an emailed statement provided to National Review. “I’m committed to working with the Academic Senate, and the wider faculty who weren’t present at today’s session.”

Instead of holding one large commencement, which was expected to draw an estimated 65,000 people to campus, USC opted to hold multiple smaller ceremonies and celebrations over the course of four days, starting Wednesday. Columbia University made a similar decision earlier this week. Prior to its cancellation, USC’s main graduation ceremony was originally scheduled for Friday.

“Provost Guzman and I welcome ongoing engagement with the newly created task force,” Folt said. “For now, our focus is on celebrating the 19,000 graduates of USC’s Class of 2024.”

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Leader of the radical pro-Palestine group Manolo De Los Santos arrested in New York

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The head of a radical organization in favor of the Cuban regime and that also openly supports the Hamas terrorist group in New York, was arrested Tuesday after the NYPD evicted an anti-Israel camp at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan.

A video posted by The People’s Forum (TPF) on X, formerly Twitter, depicts Manolo De Los Santos, executive director of TPF, an anti-Israel organization that sympathizes with the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested by several NYPD officers wearing riot helmets near the institute’s campus on West 27th Street.

On April 29, more than 100 masked activists met in Manhattan at the office of the TPF, an organization backed by American businessman Neville Roy Singham, a self-proclaimed socialist known for financially supporting left-wing causes, to plan their next moves, while protests Anti-Israel protests reach a fever pitch across the country, reports ADN America.

Manolo De Los Santos urged the group to “give Joe Biden a hot summer” and “make it unsustainable for politics as usual in this country.” Likewise, he asked to recreate “the summer of 2020,” in reference to the violence that besieged major cities in the United States months after the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

A few hours after the meeting was called, dozens of protesters illegally broke into Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall and gained entry through a glass-paneled door that one of those involved broke with a hammer.

Police arrived at the scene after being called by Columbia President Minouche Shafik. In total, 44 people were arrested, including two university staff members and 13 “outsiders” who were not affiliated with the school, Columbia confirmed in a news release Thursday.

The People’s Forum, an organization that describes itself as “a movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities,” has been a mainstay of anti-Israel protests since Hamas’ attack on the Jewish state on October 7, 2023.

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