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March 22, 2021 2:11 pm

Skidmore College Says ‘Progressive Zionists for Peace’ Now Approved to Form Trial Club

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Jonsson Tower, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs NY. Photo: Peter Flass / Wikimedia Commons

New York’s Skidmore College said Saturday that a student committee had reversed its decision and granted students a trial period for the “Progressive Zionists for Peace” (PZP) student club, after initial opposition.

The Progressive Zionists for Peace club aims to “create a space for pro-Israel, pro-peace students to organize to act together on behalf of a two-state solution and a more peaceful, secure, and democratic future for both Israelis and Palestinians.” The club also seeks to serve as a bridge for mutual understanding on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to educate Skidmore students on “peaceful Zionism,” and to combat antisemitism.

Earlier this month, Nessa Goldhirsch Brown and another student at Skidmore College were told that the trial period application for the group to become a recognized student organization had not been accepted. In the decision, the student government’s Club Affairs Committee (CAC), which is responsible for recognizing clubs, had said that “some members expressed concern that a dialogue focused club with one perspective being conveyed could be troublesome.” The two club founders appealed the decision, prompting the CAC to hold another vote on Friday.

At Friday’s meeting, the CAC voted in favor of moving the club into a trial period following a discussion to “clarify technical matters of definition and scope,” which was held together with the students seeking to establish the Progressive Zionists for Peace club.

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“This was never an issue of religion or ideology. Skidmore does not and will not tolerate antisemitism or religious discrimination of any kind. Skidmore seeks to create a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for all, and there is no place for discrimination at Skidmore,” the private university told The Algemeiner in an emailed statement.

“Skidmore College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community in which members develop their abilities to live in a complex and interconnected world. In line with this mission, thoughtful, spirited and sometimes challenging discussions are encouraged. We support our students in their efforts to work out student governance and organization,” the statement read.

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