San Jose State professor claims suspension is due to stance on pro-Palestinian protests

Zach Fuentes Image
Thursday, May 30, 2024
SJSU professor claims suspension is due to pro-Gaza protests
San Jose State professor Dr. Sang Kil said she's been suspended over her stance on the war in Gaza and pro-Palestinian protests.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Jose State professor said she's been suspended over her stance on the war in Gaza. She said the suspension is stepping on her constitutional rights and sets a troubling example.

Dr. Sang Kil wears many hats at San Jose State University, which includes her role as a professor in the Justice Studies Department and also as a faculty adviser for Students for Justice in Palestine.

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"I've been there for 17 years, I love my university, I love my job, I love the things that I do," Dr. Kil said.

Dr. Kil said she was a liaison between the administration and protesters involved at the encampment on campus earlier this month.

On May 24, Dr. Kil received a letter from the university's vice president of personnel stating that she'd been suspended.

Dr. Kil shared the letter with ABC7 which said the suspension was for repeated violations of university policies despite notices.

Those included directing students to violate university policy and harassing, offensive conduct and comments toward colleagues.

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Dr. Kil said the accusations are false.

"They made wild accusations baseless, with no evidence that I directed the students to do a march through the Student Rec Center, that never happened. We did not march through the Student Rec Center," Kil said. "The other thing they said is that I directed the students to lay down their camps, and the students refused to listen to my orders. And again, that did not happen."

The University's website says it enforces a Time, Place and Manner policy.

It says it's in place to ensure that freedom of expression doesn't interfere with university functions, safety or damage facilities.

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"We have a constitutional right to free speech, we have a constitutional right to academic freedom, and we have a constitutional right for freedom of association and these time place manner policies really impinge upon all of those," Kil said.

Kil's suspension is for at least 60 days.

It prevents her from communicating with students and keeps her from teaching two summer courses and the income from them she said she was counting on.

"I really think that they're trying to make an example of me since I was the only vocal outspoken faculty that supported the students," Kil said.

ABC7 reached out to the university which said that it does not comment on personnel matters.

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