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March 6, 2016 7:43 am

Oberlin Board Condemns Faculty Member’s ‘Antisemitic, Abhorrent’ Social Media Posts

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avatar by Andrew Pessin

Oberlin College. Photo: Wikipedia

Oberlin College. Photo: Wikipedia

The Oberlin College Board of Trustees released a statement Saturday condemning the “antisemitic” social media postings of a professor whose comments have generated negative publicity since their exposure on Feb. 25 by The Tower.

The statement, issued by Clyde McGregor on behalf of the board as a response to the postings of Joy Karega, Prof. of Rhetoric and Composition, reads as follows:

At our quarterly Board meeting yesterday, the Trustees of Oberlin College discussed postings on social media by an Oberlin faculty member.

These postings are antisemitic and abhorrent. We deplore antisemitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin.

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These grave issues must be considered expeditiously. In consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the Board has asked the administration and faculty to challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings and to report back to the Board.

From its founding, Oberlin College has stood for inclusion, respect, and tolerance. We still do.

The statement came on the heels of a meeting Friday between Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and his senior staff with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Cleveland chapters of the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League and the Hillel Foundation. After the meeting, the Jewish groups released a statement, an excerpt of which reads:

In a welcoming atmosphere, we discussed, openly and candidly, the potential implications of a professor’s personal views on classroom activity and student intimidation. We also discussed our shared respect for academic freedom.

The administration is taking its role seriously. President Krislov and his team are committed to providing a safe environment on campus for all students, regardless of religion … Oberlin College and representatives of the Cleveland Jewish community are working collaboratively to recommend programming that can facilitate a positive discourse on campus to address the consequences and sources of antisemitism.

All parties understand and accept that the college is required to follow established academic procedures when addressing questions regarding an individual faculty member. The Jewish community members present were satisfied that Oberlin College is following those procedures and look forward to learning the outcome of that process.

Krislov’s initial response to the revelations in The Tower was to defend Karega’s right to free speech, while emphasizing that her views were personal and not those of the college. This sparked outrage from a number of alumni, as reported earlier this week by The Algemeiner.

Krislov followed his first response with another, more personal and more forceful one, but one that still fell short in the eyes of critics, for not clearly identifying Karega’s posts as antisemitic.

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