update deskSchools & Higher Education

Rice University’s PRIDE group cuts ties with Houston Hillel

The LGBTQ student club aims to do more “to include Palestinian and Arab students who did not feel comfortable or safe.”

The main entrance of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Credit: Katie Haugland Bowen/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
The main entrance of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Credit: Katie Haugland Bowen/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

The LGBTQ student group Rice PRIDE at Rice University in Houston announced that it has chosen to disassociate itself from Houston Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus.

Rice PRIDE acknowledges that Houston Hillel has co-sponsored events and even helped fund the Queer Resource Center, but points to Hillel International policies that prohibit individual chapters from supporting events or speakers that promote the hatred of Israel or Jews.

As such, the group says it is making “an effort to include Palestinian and Arab students who did not feel comfortable or safe engaging with PRIDE.”

“Disassociating from Rice’s largest organization of Jewish students reeks of antisemitism. Rice PRIDE admits that its decision had nothing to do with Rice Hillel’s strong support of LGBTQ students or issues,” says Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism. “Instead, it stemmed from objections to Hillel International’s stipulation that their chapters not co-sponsor events with those who call for the elimination of the world’s only Jewish state.”

She adds that her organization has called on the administration of Rice University to investigate whether the exclusion violates club rules—“and to condemn it regardless.”

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