Oberlin Faculty Members Question Why Investigation of Prof Who Blamed Jews, Israel for 9/11 Still Dragging on
Faculty at Oberlin College are voicing concerns over the drawn-out investigation of an assistant professor who blamed Jews and Israel for 9/11, the student newspaper The Oberlin Review reported.
According to the report, several teachers at Oberlin signed and sent a petition to the school’s administration calling for greater transparency in the governance and investigatory process of Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega, who was put on paid leave in August months after many of her antisemitic and anti-Zionist Facebook postings were made public.
The official governance and disciplinary process against Karega, the report said, was initiated in March at the request of the Board of Trustees and is being handled by the Professional Conduct Review Committee (PCRC), a permanent, elected faculty committee which deals exclusively with faculty-governance issues. The PCRC has 52 days maximum, as directed by the governing process, to conclude its investigation and submit its recommendations.
Oberlin’s politics department chair, Chris Howell, told The Oberlin Review the PCRC’s official inquiry into Karega began at the end of May or beginning of June, adding, “None of us outside of those people on the specific committees have any idea why it’s taken so long and what exactly is going on.”
The petition, which was sent on August 12 to various governance committees, reads in part:
We insist on knowing when we can expect the PCRC to complete its review and share its findings. We believe it is imperative that Oberlin is completely transparent with faculty, students and alumni as to how a ruling is determined in order that all members of our community, especially young faculty, are reassured by a process not based on emotion, but rather on strict and ethical adherence to policy and practice.
Melissa Landa of Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness — whose organization, as reported by The Algemeiner, issued a letter in August to the college asking for clarification regarding Karega’s continued employment and the school’s ostensible investigation into her behavior — said her group is monitoring the months-long inquiry into the assistant professor.
“We are hoping for a fair resolution soon,” she told The Algemeiner on Monday. “Oberlin has larger, underlying problems that still need to be addressed, including antisemitism and an unwillingness to listen to each other. We’d like to be be able to move forward so that we can tackle these others issues.”
As reported by The Algemeiner in March, it was first revealed by The Tower that Karega’s Facebook page was riddled with years’ worth of posts — that have subsequently been deleted — invoking traditional antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories found in the notorious hoax, The Protocols of the Elder of Zion.
In one January 2015 post, following the infamous Charlie Hebdo murders, Karega shared an image of an ISIS terrorist disguised as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — with a Star of David tattoo on his arm and the acronym JSIL, a slur used to compare Israel to the Islamic State. The caption accompanying the image implies the attack was a “false flag” aimed at halting French support for Palestinians.
In March 2015, she also accused Israelis and Jews of being behind ISIS, the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 — and of controlling the world.
Two days after The Algemeiner’s reporting on Oberlin’s stalled investigation, the school announced that Karega had been placed on paid leave until further notice.
In response to The Oberlin Review’s request for comment on the Karega investigation, Oberlin President Marvin Krislov stated, “Toward the goal of ensuring the process is as reasonable as possible, the procedures governing the process reflect substantial procedural safeguards for all parties involved, including and especially Professor Karega.”