By Corinne Murdock |
Just as with the rest of the activist community, school board members are taking sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) Governing Board member Patti Serrano helped organize the appearance of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-12), the only Palestinian-American in Congress, scheduled for last Friday at Arizona State University (ASU). The event has since been canceled. In an email obtained by AZ Free News, Serrano notified Arizona Palestine Network subscribers of the Tlaib event.
Serrano sent the email in her capacity as the East Valley coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and as a co-sponsor of Tlaib’s “Palestine is an American Issue.”
The bottom of Serrano’s email identified other affiliated groups behind the canceled event: Arizona Palestine Network; Palestine Community Center of Arizona; Council on American Islamic Relations of Arizona; Jewish Voice for Peace – Tucson; Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) at ASU; Arizona Palestinian Solidarity Alliance; Arizona Democratic Party Progressive Council; National Lawyers Guild at ASU; Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild Attorney Chapter; and Middle Eastern Law Students Association at ASU.
Since ASU rejected Tlaib’s appearance on campus, student and community activists convened to protest, claiming freedom of speech was denied. In a statement, ASU said that the event was organized by groups not affiliated with the university and outside university policies and procedures, and therefore not permissible.
“Organizers of events using ASU facilities must be properly registered with ASU and must meet all university requirements for crowd management, parking, security, and insurance. In addition, the events must be produced in a way which minimizes disruption to academic and other activities on campus,” said ASU. “The event featuring Congresswoman Tlaib was planned and produced by groups not affiliated with ASU and was organized outside of ASU policies and procedures. Accordingly, that event will not take place today on the ASU Tempe campus.”
Tlaib didn’t issue any public statements following the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. Only after Israel issued a response to Hamas in Gaza did Tlaib call upon the Biden administration to advocate for a cease-fire. Tlaib also introduced a resolution facilitating a cease-fire.
Tlaib was censured for her repeated endorsement of the controversial slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” largely understood to be a call for the eradication of Israel from the land.
In addition to PDA, Serrano also served as an academic research project director for ASU.
Upon becoming a CUSD governing board member earlier this year, Serrano took her oath of office not on the Bible but on “Life is a Banquet,” a book containing the sexual awakening and explicit fantasies of a fictional 17-year-old and his peers, written by ASU Professor and Drag Story Hour Arizona co-founder David Boyles.
Serrano has led a number of widely-reported protests against elected leaders to advocate for various progressive issues over the years.
In 2021, Serrano was one of the activists that rallied, marched, and sat in on the office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) to demand an end to the filibuster.
In 2020, Serrano helped organize a protest outside the Arizona Republican Party headquarters demanding greater government action to counter COVID-19, such as mask mandates.
In 2018, Serrano went to former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s Washington, D.C. office to demand he oppose the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, based on the sexual assault allegations.