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December 7, 2015 2:44 pm

Ethics Committee Clears Jewish Student Who Confronted Anti-Israel Demonstrators on Michigan Campus

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

University of Michigan student Jesse Arm confronted fellow students who put up an anti-Israel display on campus. Photo: Twitter.

University of Michigan student Jesse Arm confronted fellow students who put up an anti-Israel display on campus. Photo: Twitter.

The student government’s ethics committee at the University of Michigan unanimously voted on Sunday not to take disciplinary action against a Jewish student who was under investigation for challenging anti-Israel demonstrators on campus, The Algemeiner has learned.

The Central Student Government (CSG) Ethics Committee released a report concluding that sophomore and CSG representative Jesse Arm “did not engage in unethical behavior or engage in conduct unbecoming of a representative.” The decision was made after the committee heard testimonies from all involved parties and reviewed footage of Arm confronting the protesters.

Arm was caught on video last month arguing with students who assembled an anti-Israel display on campus. The demonstration took place on Nov. 19, the day that 18-year-old American-Jewish student Ezra Schwartz was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Israel. The incident resulted in the Ethics Committee launching its first-ever investigation, after Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), the group responsible for the display, called on the committee to dismiss Arm for what they claimed was abusive conduct.

Arm defended his actions in an interview with The Algemeiner earlier this month, saying he acted for those who felt “marginalized or unsafe” by the anti-Israel demonstration.

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The Ethics Committee stood behind Arm’s freedom of speech, saying, “Just as SAFE had the right to peacefully assemble in the Diag [quad], Representative Jesse Arm had the right to voice his opinion.” The committee said it encourages students and student government representatives to “passionately and respectfully” advocate for causes they believe in, and that Arm should “not be penalized because he is passionate and cares deeply about this issue.”

“Representatives should be held to a higher standard than the average student,” the Committee said. “However, while Representatives of the Assembly do represent all of their constituents, we do not shed our own personal opinions and beliefs when we decide to run for office. Representative Arm has the right to engage in discourse.”

The committee concluded that it is “incorrect” and “not appropriate” to issue Arm with a warning.

Arm told The Algemeiner on Monday that he is happy with the committee’s decision, and hopes the CSG can now “get back to work” on making the University of Michigan campus a better place for all students. He said students should recognize how critically important freedom of speech is, and he hopes that in the future, all students will be able to “engage in respectful dialogue freely without fear of repercussions for their ideas.”

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