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November 17, 2016 2:15 pm

Head of Alumni Group That Pushed for Ouster of Antisemitic Oberlin Faculty Member Says Other Colleges Should ‘Follow Suit, Stamp Out Bigotry’

avatar by Lea Speyer

Oberlin College. Photo: Wikipedia.

Oberlin College. Photo: Wikipedia.

The recent dismissal of an Oberlin College assistant professor who blamed Jews and Israel for the 9/11 terror attacks should serve as a warning to university faculty everywhere that “there is no place for bigotry on campus,” the head of an alumni group that pushed for her ouster told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

Melissa Landa of Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) — part of a national network engaged in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campus — was referring to the termination on Tuesday of Dr. Joy Karega over a slew of antisemitic social media postings.

“We hope other campuses will follow Oberlin’s example,” Landa said.

The decision to fire Karega was handed down by the Ohio school’s board of trustees, which released a statement explaining that Karega was let go from her position for “failing to meet the academic standards Oberlin requires of its faculty and failing to demonstrate intellectual honesty.”

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During an extensive investigation carried out by the Board and her peers, the statement continued, Karega “disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process.”

“In the face of Dr. Karega’s repeated refusal to acknowledge and remedy her misconduct, her continued presence undermines the mission and values of Oberlin’s academic community,” the Board stated. “Thus, any sanction short of dismissal is insufficient and the Board of Trustees is compelled to take this most serious action.”

Landa said that Karega missed a major opportunity to mend her ways. “If somebody does or says something that expresses bigotry, then we would hope they would express remorse and apologize, because people do make mistakes,” she said. “A lot of consideration and care was given to this issue over the last nine months, and we believe everything was handled fairly.” 

In a statement posted to Facebook — which has since been removed — Karega threatened to sue Oberlin over her dismissal, writing:

…I’ve been dealing with the persecution, incompetent leadership and discrimination from Oberlin College since March…I will be issuing an official statement soon. I could easily release a “Kiss My Ass” statement. I would be MORE than justified in doing so. But that is not my style. I choose my weapons CAREFULLY and STRATEGICALLY. And trust, I have done that. There will be a challenge and defense of my rights, using ALL the avenues I have available to me — litigation, public, etc. The pathway for that has already been laid…

Prof. Joy Karega. Photo: Twitter.

Assistant Prof. Joy Karega. Photo: Twitter.

As The Algemeiner reported in March, it was first revealed by The Tower magazine that Karega’s Facebook page was riddled with years’ worth of posts — which were subsequently deleted — invoking traditional antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories found in the notorious forgery the Protocols of the Elder of Zion.

Oberlin officials promised to investigate Karega, but for months appeared to be making little headway. In August, two days after The Algemeiner’s reported on Oberlin ACF’s outrage over Karega’s continued employment, the school announced that the assistant professor had been placed on paid leave until further notice.

Responding to her critics in October, Karega claimed she was being scapegoated due to her color and gender, telling a campus gathering, “I cannot accept being subjected to arbitrary standards and differential treatment. I cannot accept the way that I have been treated as a black woman on Oberlin’s faculty.”

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