CSU deemed Alec Popivker persona non grata; pending appeal

Yesterday, Feb. 2, Alec Popivker’s persona non grata status was granted. Cleveland State’s Vice President for Campus Engagement, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Phillip Cockrell, notified CSU’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights student organization of the disposition. Under the PNG, Popivker is not permitted on CSU’s campus for any reason.

On Feb. 1, Popivker underwent his persona non grata hearing, where he recorded the meeting and uploaded it to his public social media. The purpose of the hearing was to assign status to “a campus visitor after a hearing determining that the visitor (has) exhibited a behavior which is detrimental to the University community.”

Cleveland State Police Chief Beverly Pettrey represented the university. She mentioned that CSU PD had multiple interactions with Popivker over the past few years.

The main evidence the university presented against Popivker was his alleged theft of the Palestinian Human Rights student organization banner from CSU’s Student Center that went missing on Jan. 11.

Pettrey also provided statements referring to Popivker’s disruptions on campus, including the fixation of flags on university property and the harassment of students.

She also added that Popivker “Continues to intimidate and antagonise our students, specifically our Palestinian students, who have reported feeling or who have been targeted by Alec through social media.”

Under case 2023-CRB-000551 in the Cleveland Municipal Court, Popivker is being charged with theft on Jan. 19.

Popivker admitted to the alleged theft on Jan. 25 on Instagram.

“As an act of civil disobedience, I have removed the terrorist banner that erases the Jewish state that was displayed at the Cleveland State University Student Center,” Popivker said in the post. “Pan Arab Nazi flag is designated as a terrorist symbol by Israel. Is the CSU really in solidarity with this?”

In the persona non grata hearing, Popivker stated, “I do not deny having taken the banner.”

Popivker’s arraignment at the Cleveland Municipal Court was on Feb. 2. He pleaded non-guilty.

His next court hearing is a Virtual Criminal Pre-Trial on Feb 21.

In the PNG hearing, Pettrey did not bring up evidence of Popivker violating a protective order on Jan. 18, and Jan. 25 related to a CSU student.

On Jan. 25. Popivker was arrested for violating the protective order.

Despite the current status of the PNG, Popivker told Cleveland Jewish News that he plans to appeal the PNG status.

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