CSU silent on Alec Popivker’s return; persona non grata hearing

Alec Popivker carrying a flag of Israel at Cleveland State on Jan. 18th

Still under a temporary ban from Cleveland State related to a protection order connected to a CSU student, Alec Popivker returned to CSU’s courtyard on Jan. 18th, which means his documented harassment of students returns, especially to those with Palestinian and Muslim backgrounds.

We reached out to Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) student organization here at CSU about how they felt about his return. A member described Popivker’s presence on campus as uncomfortable and worrisome, “(He) makes me wary of coming into campus… I’m forced to be on constant edge and take the longer way to class in order to avoid him.” 

She elaborates on his aggression towards visibly Muslim students and questions Cleveland State’s response.

“His continual presence on campus proves that CSU is not hearing our cries for help. With the Cleveland State police department getting numerous calls and nothing permanent being done, it makes me feel like the students aren’t being heard,” the SPHR member said. 

The Cauldron reached out to CSU to provide an update and comment on Popivker’s persona non grata hearing to see if it had been completed and if that is why Popivker is allowed to be back on campus and not permanently banned.

CSU didn’t reply. 

The Cauldron reached out to President Laura Bloomberg for comment on how she and her administration plan to ensure the safety of CSU’s Palestinian and Muslim communities going forward.

She didn’t reply.

The Cauldron also asked Bloomberg why she and her administration have not made a public statement supporting the Palestinian and Muslim community with Alec Popivker back on campus.

She didn’t reply.

A Palestinian Muslim student who wanted to remain anonymous said, “There are students who are Muslim and non-muslim, arab and non-Arab that are uncomfortable with his presence.” They also mention his derogatory comments about Muslims and Palestinians, “He said to a crowd of Muslims that we are all Hamas followers.” 

It should be noted that Hamas is a controversial Palestinian militant and nationalist organization. They formed in 1987 at the beginning of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising). Popivker’s use of calling these students “Hamas followers” is to connect these students with negative connotations of the group, like terrorism. There is no documented commentary from any students at CSU regarding support for the group. 

Despite the University’s silence, we want to hear what students have to say. We ask you to take this survey regarding the reinstatement of Popivker’s presence. 

This is a developing Story. Updates will be posted as they become available.

Correction: Popivker is still under a temporary ban related to a protection order with a CSU Student, according to sources close to the universityInitially, The story pointed out that the temporary ban was over.

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