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Applications for a new Student Advisory Group on the Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian student experiences at Penn are currently open.

Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn President Liz Magill opened applications for a new Student Advisory Group on the Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian student experiences.

In an email sent out on Nov. 27, Magill and Provost John L. Jackson Jr. invited undergraduates and graduate or professional students to serve on the group. 

Students selected for the program will commit to their roles for a year, starting from December 2023 and ending in December 2024. As a part of the group, members will participate in quarterly meetings with Magill and Jackson to discuss solutions for fostering a more inclusive environment on campus.

The application, which is due on Dec. 6, asks for students to explain their interests in serving on the advisory board as well as other student organizations they are currently involved in. 

This announcement comes after the Freedom School for Palestine began its teach-in on Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. in Houston Hall. Since then, individuals have remained in Houston even after the day-long event. The organization has provided programming such as presentations, lectures, film screenings, and vigils to amplify pro-Palestinian voices. 

"It is a major academic failing of the university to respond to Israel’s violent occupation of Gaza by silencing and harassing students and professors who critique the Israeli state and its Zionist project," the Freedom School for Palestine wrote in a media advisory.

On Nov. 16, Magill opened applications for a new Student Advisory Group on the Jewish student experience. 

Both advisory groups are part of a campus-wide action plan to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate that was announced earlier this month. 

The action plan outlined that Penn would address other forms of hate and hire a new administrator with a skill set to prevent and respond to antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate.

"As we move forward with this important work, we will ensure that our programmatic efforts consider the interconnectedness between antisemitism and other forms of hate, including Islamophobia, so that we are fostering a welcoming community for all," Magill wrote.

Following the announcement of the action plan, several Muslim students told the DP the action plan was reassuring, if not a perfect recognition of their needs. 

The push for the Student Advisory Group comes after the School of Arts and Sciences launched an initiative called Living the Hard Promise. The initiative will provide programs that facilitate discussion among students to “explore concerns” and “learn from and about each other” in response to the Israel-Hamas war.