Sonoma State University President, Dr. Mike Lee, Ousted Over Explosive Pro-Palestinian Email

Campus pro-Palestinian protests ignite more chaos: arrests, expulsions, and Sonoma State University president ousted for his willingness to concede to the protesters' demands.


Nwankama Nwankama, PhD, MBA, MScIT

5/23/20241 min read

I’m drawn to the pro-Palestine protests sweeping U.S. university campuses, which have reached a critical point, with thousands of protesters arrested and hundreds of students facing suspension or expulsion. Many final-year students are denied graduation.

In a dramatic turn, Sonoma State University President Mike Lee has been ousted after sending an email agreeing to several demands from the pro-Palestinian protesters. His memo, sent without proper approval, pledged an academic boycott of Israel and other significant concessions demanded by the protesters. The backlash was immediate, with severe criticism from various groups. One critic wrote that “the University President aligned the campus with BDS, a movement whose goal is the destruction of Israel, home to 7 million Jews." BDS stands for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,’ a nonviolent Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestment, and economic sanctions against Israel. Lee's subsequent apology couldn't quell the controversy, leading to his immediate removal.

Casualties from the Israeli-Hamas war and pro-Palestine protests continue to rise, with little improvement in Gaza or Hamas’ return of the Israeli hostages. Cooler voices advocating for significant compromises and mutual recognition of the humanity and rights of those on the other side are drowned out by extremists on both sides, and their supporters. These entrenched factions blame each other and refuse to listen, preventing any meaningful progress towards peace.

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