Parking Ticket

By MARIA KANSO, News Editor

Fake tickets that were meant to serve as flyers for two events hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine (‘5 Broken Cameras’ on March 30 and another about listening to Palestinian personal stories on March 23,) were placed on car windshields parked around campus at the end of last month.

The flyers were removed from student cars three hours after they were placed, according to Jenin Yaseen, president of Students for Justice in Palestine. The reason for removing them was because students thought that the tickets were real parking tickets.

SJP has advertised for several educational events on campus regarding Palestinian rights. Yaseen said placing mock tickets on car windshields around campus is one that was heavily attacked.

The purpose of this was to create an empathic connection between the student body and the Palestinian victims, sharing with them the reality of what the Palestinians go through on a daily basis. Palestinians do not receive any form of notices when they are forced to evacuate or have their houses demolished,” Yaseen said. “The tickets were designed to share that fear with the student body and spread awareness of the injustice occurring in Palestine.”

Titled “Parking Violation,” the flyer opened with the following note, written in bold:  “We regret to inform you that your vehicle will be towed in the next 24 Hours. We receive the right to demolish the vehicle under Code 269.2.C. We hereby release any liability for damage to any persons or effects including gross negligence. You will receive the charges of demolition and waste removal.”

It then included information about the Israeli settlement on Palestinian lands, saying that, “Palestinian homes are often destroyed so that new settlements can be built, and so that the state of Israel can expand past its borders by appropriating Palestinian land.”

The name of the events were written on the bottom of the flyer, with a small inscription saying “this is not a real ticket” under it.

StandWithUs, an Israel education organization based in Los Angeles that has a chapter in Detroit, sent a letter that expresses concern about the “fake tickets” to University of Michigan-Dearborn Dean Marty Hershock and Associate Deans Michael Lachance and Gabriel Scarletta.

“We are concerned about discriminatory and anti-Semitic ‘mock parking violation tickets’ recently posted on student’s vehicles in violation of the Dearborn Municipal Code and UM-Dearborn policy,” the letter said. “We urge your administration promptly and thoroughly to investigate these incidents and to discipline the responsible student group.”

The letter urged that the letters placed by SJP are “illegal” because they lack a stamp of approval by the Office of Student Engagement and should be subject to disciplinary action under UM-Dearborn policy.

It also said that the “mock tickets” violate the discrimination and harassment policy, which prohibits the creation of  an environment that is “unwelcoming or hostile” based on a person’s “national origin.”

Jason Forsbery, the campus deputy chief of police at UM-Dearborn, said there is currently no policy against placing flyers on cars.

“Once we held together enough information, we felt pretty confident there was no threat,” Forsbery said. “If we felt threatened by something that is going on, we always take it seriously. We try to be apathetic to what people’s concerns are and what their feelings are.”

Yaseen said SJP does not hold anti-Semitic, racist, or discriminatory messages. Rather, it is an organization that calls for justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

“To claim that we have broken laws, policies, and have enacted bigoted behaviors are serious accusations that continue to be presented with no supporting evidence. We have the laws of the State of Michigan, the policies of the University of Michigan- Dearborn, and the innumerable statistics of Israeli apartheid as our allies,” Yaseen said. “We will not apologize for being on the side of justice.”

The chief of police later apologized for removing the pamphlets on cars after being sure that they were placed within legal bounds, according to Yaseen.