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Sonoma State president placed on leave after announcing deal with pro-Palestinian protesters

Sonoma State University President Mike Lee was placed on leave Wednesday following an email announcing he and protesters on campus had reached an agreement on divestment from Israel.

The email, posted by the student group, shows other key points of the agreement.

  • Creation of a Student Advisory Council for Justice in Palestine
  • Disclosure of investments and divestments, search for ethical alternatives
  • Academic boycott of academic and research institutions sponsored or representing the Israeli state
  • Recognize Palestinian identity and introduce a historical program
  • Call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza

There was immediate backlash against the email and Lee’s decision. CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia announced that Lee was placed on administrative leave Wednesday.

“At this time, due to this insubordination and the impact it has had on the system, President Lee has been placed on administrative leave,” Garcia said.

Garcia said Lee’s message was sent without approval, and in an updated message to campus, Lee said he was alone in his decision to send the email.

“I want to be clear: The message was drafted and sent without approval or consultation with the Chancellor or other system leaders. The points highlighted in the message were mine alone and do not represent the opinions of my colleagues or of CSU,” Lee said Wednesday.

However, he reaffirmed some of his initial statements.

“In my message, I said: “We understand that many people feel anxious and fearful, particularly when standing up for their beliefs. We ask everyone to do their part to support each other, to ensure Sonoma State is a safe and inclusive place for all. » I stand by this statement. I realize now that my message caused more fear, anxiety and uncertainty. that was not my intention,” Lee said.

Chancellor Garcia said she and the Council continue to review the issue and there will likely be further updates.

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