ASU cancels event with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

By Wayne Schutsky
Published: Friday, November 17, 2023 - 3:31pm

Arizona State University canceled an in-person speech by Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib scheduled to take place Friday afternoon.

Social media posts show Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, was invited by Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU, a group that has called on the university to boycott Israel, as well as a dozen other pro-Palestinian groups. 

Rashida Tlaib
House of Representatives
Rashida Tlaib

According to a statement from ASU, it canceled the event because it was organized by groups not affiliated with the university and did not comply with other university policies related to parking, security, insurance and crowd management.

“The event featuring Congresswoman Tlaib was planned and produced by groups not affiliated with ASU and was organized outside of ASU policies and procedures,” the statement read. “Accordingly, that event will not take place today on the ASU Tempe campus.”

Arizona Palestine Network, another event organizer, said in an email that Tlaib will still speak to attendees gathered outside of ASU’s Neeb Hall.

SJP at ASU wrote on social media that students, faculty and community members had been planning the event for months. 

The group did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The State Press reported that the group was at a rally earlier this week outside of a meeting of ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government that had to be quickly adjourned after someone threw rocks at a window to the room where the meeting was held.

The U.S. House voted to censure Tlaib on Nov. 7. According to reporting by NPR, the censure was brought over comments she made about Israel’s war with Hamas, including a social media post that included the Palestinian slogan “from the river to the sea,” which some critics have called antisemitic. Tlaib denied that allegation.

A bipartisan group of four members of the Arizona House of Representatives issued a press release earlier in the week calling Tlaib an “extremist.” They wrote she is free to speak on campus but called on ASU not to use public money in support of SJP at ASU.

A spokesman for Tlaib did not respond to an email seeking comment.