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Oberlin Trustees condemn Prof’s “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” Facebook posts

Oberlin Trustees condemn Prof’s “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” Facebook posts

Prof. Joy Karega last fall: “I love being at Oberlin. I’m a good fit there.”

Joy Karega is the “social justice writing” assistant professor at Oberlin College who posted blatantly anti-Semitic conspiracy claims on her Facebook page.

Those posts included claims that the Jewish Rothschild family controls the media and politicians, that Israel is behind ISIS/ISIL, and that the 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks were Mossad false-flag operations.

Equally important, and something overlooked by the media except us, Karega is a big supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and helped organize a BDS event at Oberlin just as few days ago at Oberlin at the request of the Oberlin Students for Justice in Palestine.

Karega was on a list of non-tenured faculty that the Black Student Union demanded be granted tenure, as part of its 14-page list of demands. Karega fit right in at Oberlin, in her own words. Given the pervasive anti-Israel, sometimes anti-Semtic atmosphere, there’s no surprise she would think that:

The initial reaction from the Oberlin administration was tepid, at best. The college initially issued a short statement defending Karega’s right to hold whatever views she wants:

Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff, and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.

A few days ago, Oberlin President Marvin Krislow issued a personal statement which didn’t event call the posting anti-Semitic, did not condemn it and spent more time talking about academic freedom than anything else. The statement reads, in part:

The screenshots affected me on a very personal level. I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors, and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Regardless of the reason for spreading these materials, they cause pain for many people—members of our community and beyond.

I am also the son of a tenured faculty member at a large research university. My father instilled in me a strong belief in academic freedom. I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is “the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education” because it encourages free inquiry, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish.

Contrast how Krislov and the Oberlin community reacted to anti-black, anti-LGBT statements posted on campus three years ago, including all-campus meetings and cancellation of classes, and a denunciation of the remarks. So far, no such public introspection for the community on the proliferation of an anti-Semitic atmosphere on campus stoked by the BDS movement, something about which Oberlin alumni complained in an Open Letter to the adminitration.

Karega, for her part, not only is not backing down or sounding contrite, she is doubling down by vowing to lawyer up and further expand her inquiry into the alleged racism of those criticizing her anti-Semitic outbursts. She invoked the support not only of Robin Kelley, the BDS speaker she invited to campus, but also the anti-Semitic conspiracy site Veterans Today.

Oberlin Karega FB Robin Kelley Support Veterans Today 3-3-2016

Oberlin Karega FB No more Comment 3-5-2006

Finally, however, the Oberlin Board of Trustees has stepped in, and issued a strong statement condemning the comments as “anti-Semitic and abhorrent,” and inviting the faculty to try to justify them if it can:

Statement by Clyde McGregor on behalf of Oberlin College Board of Trustees

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

These postings are anti-Semitic and abhorrent. We deplore anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin.

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.

Clyde S. McGregor ’74, Chair, Oberlin College Board of Trustees

Oberlin has an anti-Semitism problem, but cannot bring itself to truly deal with it because it is intertwined with that most precious of modern progressive causes, the BDS movement.


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assemblerhead | March 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm

The Board is stuck figuring out how to clean house. They just don’t know it yet / Or won’t admit it to themselves. Will they take action or just public posture and pass-the-buck?

Personal Opinion : public posture / pass-the-buck

The president will do nothing. If an Islamic not-so-smart-bomb goes off on campus, look for the ( staff / faculty / president ) to blame the Jews.

When the Alumni cut the money off, that is when the message might get through.
To finish sinking that ship : cut off state / federal funds.

It’s too bad mental competency is not an employment requirement at Oberlin. That would solve a lot of the problems.

    innocent bystander in reply to assemblerhead. | March 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    “Personal Opinion : public posture / pass-the-buck”

    No. An newly hired assistant prof. w/ a such a rebuke from the board of trustees — she’ll be out at the first scheduled exit. The position she occupied will disappear from her dept., which will find resources very hard to come by.

      assemblerhead in reply to innocent bystander. | March 6, 2016 at 3:45 am

      If this was any other institution, we would be in agreement.

      The administration is merely a figurehead. If the “faculty” don’t approve of it, she immediately folds. No spine, no ethics, all cashing-the-check politics.

      Getting rid of the assit. prof. without getting rid of the “faculty” that vetted her, approved her hire, and support her position achieves nothing.

      Every new hire for this institution is going to be made out of the same mold. Totally interchangeable. Regardless of the hiring department.

      The gangrene has spread too far. A simple amputation won’t work. Euthanasia is the humane treatment.

I support her right to free expression.

I think she’d really be much happier in Palestinian territory.


    Whiskey Bravo in reply to Ragspierre. | March 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Ha! You’re right. The very “freedom of speech” she’s hiding her hatred behind would be violently stripped from her within minutes of her opening her mouth in Gaza.

    Where in the world do these people come from????

Whiskey Bravo | March 5, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Thank you for going to the trouble of putting this post together along with all the pertinent screen captures and commentary. Well done and greatly appreciated!

It is stunning how far our university systems have fallen. Few seem to have survived the liberal and anti-Semitic tide that has been sweeping our nation (and the world) for the last 30+ years.

“These are the times that try men’s souls…”

Their condemnation of that idiot Karega is meaningless without firing her.

The GOPe must be taking advice from the Board at Oberlin.

AllenCadwallader | March 6, 2016 at 7:33 am

I am a tenured full professor at Oberlin College. This so-called assistant professor has made it difficult for all of us to achieve our primary mission, the teaching of undergraduates. In my opinion, she is interested only in the spotlight of the media, not in genuine social discourse. I can assure all who read this that her views are not shared by the majority of the faculty and administration. In short, she is an intellectual rabble-rouser who has only a self-serving agenda.

    Whether or not the rest of the faculty agrees with her is, at this point, pretty much irrelevant. The fact that she exists at all as a professor at an American university is the problem.

    It is unlikely in the extreme that one who holds such views could have camouflaged them sufficiently to get through a proper vetting/hiring process, unless those doing the vetting/hiring agreed with her. As others have noted, the rot is too deep, too entrenched. The only remedial course of action is to cut down, plow under and replant.

    As it is, as far as I am concerned, no university degree awarded in the United States in the last couple of decades is worth the paper it’s printed on.

    Just my opinion as an unlettered (AAS/Comp. Prog.) MilVet in flyover country.

    Massinsanity in reply to AllenCadwallader. | March 7, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I would like to thank Professor Cadwallader for his comment and for demonstrating the courage to make such a comment given the environment he works in. It should be noted that he was called out specifically to be “immediately” fired in the 14 pages list of student demands submitted to the Oberllin administration back in December.

Oh dear, is there a safe space at Oberlin large enough to accommodate the Board? Perhaps they can seek shelter in shifts.

Reaping what they have sown.