Oberlin College fires professor after 'anti-Semitic' Facebook posts

Updated: Nov. 16, 2016 at 10:14 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OBERLIN, OH (WOIO) - Oberlin College has dismissed Assistant Professor Joy Karega, who has been embroiled in controversy since posts accused of being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel were found on her social media accounts earlier this year.

Karega's posts were published by The Tower in February. The posts claimed that "Israeli and Zionist Jews" were behind the 9/11 attacks and that ISIS was a "CIA and Mossad operation." She also wrote that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The school initially stood by Karega, who teaches rhetoric and composition, but in March, Board of Trustees chairman Clyde McGregor wrote that her "anti-Semitic and abhorrent" comments were "grave issues" that "must be considered expeditiously."

Karega was placed on leave in August.

Karega's governance process lasted nine months and included witnesses and evidence presentation. According to a statement from the board, Karega was represented by counsel and was also able to cross-examine witnesses testifying against her.

"The faculty review process examined whether Dr. Karega had violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members– namely, adherence to the Statement of Professional Ethics of the American Association of University Professors, which requires faculty members to 'accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge' and to 'practice intellectual honesty,'" the board wrote in a statement explaining her dismissal.

"Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship," they continued. "She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process."

The case sent waves of controversy throughout the school. In letters penned to student newspaper The Oberlin Review, some argued that punishing Karega for her posts would be restricting intellectual freedom, while others called on the university to openly condemn the "hateful" posts.

The board said that the majority of the General Faculty Council agreed that Karega's postings warranted in her dismissal. Many faculty members also signed a statement in April calling Karega's posts anti-Semitic, according to Inside Higher Ed

Karega wrote a response to the firing on her Facebook page Tuesday night, saying that, "There will be a challenge and defense of my rights, using ALL the avenues I have available to me— litigation, public, etc."

"To my faculty colleagues who had a hand in this decision and to my faculty colleagues who have sat back and done NOTHING: When this precedent that is being set extends beyond mere harm to faculty of color, you will have NO right to complain or say anything," she wrote. "You had a chance, and you either fought for my dismissal or sat silent, watching as the College discriminated against me and applied arbitrary and biased standards to me in ways that many of you KNOW were wrong and unfair."

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.