Student gets probation for free speech
Published in St. Louis American, August 25, 2016
When Christopher Winston returned to Saint Louis University this semester, I’m sure it didn’t shine with as much promise as it did the previous year. That’s because last semester, Winston was hit with what some may call slander and a harsh penalty for questioning human rights abuses by the Israeli government against the Palestinians.
Winston showed up as the only African-American student to a forum by the Jewish Students Association (JSA). He raised questions about the occupation of Palestine and specifically about the attacks on the Palestinian Red Crescent attempting to provide medical responses to Palestinian community. There was a bit of verbal jostling, but nothing that rose to the level of a physical confrontation, based on watching a video of the encounter and talking with Winston.
Still, about a week later, this black student received the equivalent of a summons and a restraining order. A complaint had been filed by two members of the JSA, Scott Lasky and David Weinstein. During the non-violent verbal exchange Lasky and Weinstein said they felt – you guessed it – concerned about their “safety and well-being.”
As a result, Winston told me that he was charged with being involved in a bias incident and with disruptive conduct. He appealed the charges to no avail and remains on probation until the end of next year (2017). Should he violate the conditions of his probation, Saint Louis University is ready to smack him with further sanctions.
This situation is just wrong on so many levels. Read more