Rutgers University is denying involvement in a campus event on Saturday that compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust. The program, “Never Again for Anyone,” was organized with assistance from Rutgers student organizations. Members of the Jewish community and Israel supporters said an entrance fee was imposed on them at the door, while anti-Zionists were allegedly allowed into the lecture for free.
University officials distanced themselves from the event today, telling the Washington Examiner’s J.P. Freire that Rutgers “was not the sponsor of Saturday evening’s event at the Douglass Campus Center.”
“The organizers had originally advertised a suggested donation of five to twenty dollars upon entry. At the event, the organizers chose to impose a five dollar entrance fee on attendees,” the university said in a statement. “Some attendees attempted to enter the venue without paying the fee or through unauthorized entrances, including fire doors.”
The school added that “Rutgers University Police did not bar anyone who paid the fee — which was imposed by the organizers who leased the space — from entering the hall.”
But imposing an entrance fee at the last minute may have been a violation of the university’s guidelines. According to Freire, the Rutgers office of scheduling “stated in a phone call that all details need to be confirmed three weeks prior to an event, including whether there would be an entry fee.”
Whatever Rutgers official position on the event is, it’s clear that it had some sort of responsibility to enforce its rules. The program took place in a university facility that was rented by an outside organization. Student groups were involved in promoting the event, and off-duty campus police were hired to maintain order. If an entrance fee was imposed in a discriminatory manner at the last minute, in an effort to bar certain people from attending a public event, that’s a very serious issue for Rutgers. So is the university’s apathy regarding the entire situation.