Two Manitoba Progressive Conservative critics and members of the legislative assembly have written a letter urging the NDP government to intervene on behalf of Arij Al Khafagi, a fourth-year nursing student at the University of Manitoba facing suspension over alleged anti-Israel social media activity.
Critic for advanced education Richard Perchotte and training and finance critic Obby Khan called on the Manitoba government in an letter obtained by True North to demand the university allow Khafagi to continue her studies while an investigation is underway.
“Ms. Al Khafagi is a nursing student and a student leader, and an associate Dean has suspended her from her program over posts made on her personal social media account regarding the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” reads the letter.
“This suspension is immediate, and comes in the 4th year of her studies. It sends an unacceptable message to academically penalise a student for expressing herself, passionate community members are the same passionate nurses that our healthcare system so desperately needs.”
The letter was shared with True North by a source connected to the Manitoba PCs concerned by Khan’s and Perchotte’s intervention.
Al Khafagi, a senior member of the Nursing Students’ Association, confirmed her suspension on November 23, according to the student paper the Manitoban.
Supporters who have launched a mailing campaign claim the suspension is related to her social media posts opposing Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
True North reached out to both Al Khafagi and the University of Manitoba for comment but did not receive a response.
“We are urging you to look into this situation and work with the University to allow Ms. Al Khafagi to continue her studies while the appeal process is being pursued,” wrote Perchotte and Khan.
A screenshot of Al Khafagi’s Instagram feed shows that she shared a photo comparing Israel Defense Force soldiers to Nazis with the caption: “The irony of becoming what you once hated…”