Monday, January 31, 2011

Statement by Rutgers University on the Anti-Israel Event

(Hat tip to Stand With Us)

Here is the statement of Rutgers University Media contact Ernest Miranda regarding this past weekend's anti-Israel event in which pro-Israel folks were kept from entering by means of a spur of the moment admission fee.

Statement by Rutgers University on Douglass Campus Center Event

University responds to issues raised by outside groups at weekend event

January 30, 2011

On the evening of Saturday, January 29, an event was held by the organization American Muslims for Palestine in Trayes Hall at the Douglass Campus Center of Rutgers University.The organization is presenting its program at colleges, universities and community organizations around the country. A number of campus student groups worked with them to publicize the program. The event also drew protestors.

The university wishes to correct a number of assertions that have appeared in some published reports of the event:

Rutgers University was not the sponsor of Saturday evening's event at the Douglass Campus Center.

American Muslims for Palestine leased a hall inside the center from the university and paid the cost of the event. The organizers hired two off-duty officers to assist with security and crowd control.

The organizers had originally advertised a suggested donation of five to twenty dollars upon entry. At the event, the organizers chose to impose a five dollar entrance fee on attendees. Some attendees attempted to enter the venue without paying the fee or through unauthorized entrances, including fire doors.

Contrary to published reports, Rutgers University Police did not bar anyone who paid the fee -- which was imposed by the organizers who leased the space -- from entering the hall. Police assisted in facilitating access to the hall and crowd control. Individuals who declined to pay the entrance fee, or who wished to protest the event, gathered inside the student center.

Media Contact: Ernest Miranda

732-932-7084, ext. 613


Ernest (o) Miranda????? I always wondered whatever happened to that guy. Hey Miranda! Haven't you learned by now that you have the right to silence and all that? You should have exercized it.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

So, what's the problem? An off campus group leases campus space. That's a business transaction, and the leasee has the right to set conditions for entrance.

I see a problem you haven't mentioned. When the sponsor of an event on hired premises hires off-duty police officers to provide security, and they show up in uniform setting matters like where the "designated protest area" is located, there is a clear conflict of interest. Either they are private security, in which case they have no business acting as police officers, or they are police officers, in which case the sponsors of the event can pay the police department to defray costs that would otherwise fall on the public, but the police respond solely to their chief, not the even organizers.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the event was advertised as "Free and Open to the public". The free part changed when the organizers realized that most of the people attending were not on their side. If a commercial established offered a free movie, and then announced they changed their mind, and it was now $5, that would be considered fraud, and it would be actionable.

The facebook page set up by the group, as well as the Craigs List posting both say "free and open to the public".

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Are there any conservatives left in this forum? Last I knew, changing the rules on a private event is not a crime. If a store advertises a sale price, then announces that the sale is over, nobody has a claim that their constitutional rights have been violated. The legislature could pass a law about that (regulating commerce), but if it hasn't, then there is no law.

If a public institution did something like that, then the courts could parse whether declaring it "open to the public" created a public forum, a quasi public forum, or whether it might still be considered a non-public forum.

Given that this turns out to have been a private event, all you can really say is, "If this is how you guys conduct business, I won't be coming back to your events anymore."

Gary Fouse said...


I'm not arguing that a crime was committed. I'm just pointing out the dishonesty and trickery of the event organizers. They advertised it as free and open to the public with a suggestion donation of 5-20 bucks. Then when they saw they were going to be outnumbered, they tried to charge 5 bucks to the pro-Israel folks.

They should be embarrassed. Of course, the university and their potted plants, er...campus police, had no clue of how to deal with it.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

There was nothing the police could have done about it Gary, as you yourself have said. No crime was committed, only an act of dishonesty, trickery, bad faith... which might be the foundation of a civil suit, but more likely, those defrauded can merely cry "You should be ashamed of yourselves." I doubt this will have much effect on the sponsors.

Rutgers might consider establishing a policy that organizations which have engaged in this sort of last-minute reneging on advertised promises may not rent university facilities again.