USC : “All of the restrictions previously placed on Professor Strauss have now been lifted.”
The LA Times reports that University of Southern California’s Professor John Strauss will be allowed to return to campus while under investigation for his comments condemning Hamas at a pro-Palestine event on November 9th.
We covered the controversy over Strauss’s verbal clash with the demonstrators here. Strauss, who says he heard the protesters shout “death to Israel,” told them they were all “really ignorant.” “Hamas are murderers,” he went on to say as he walked back from class. “That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.”
Strauss says his remarks were misrepresented in an online video that omitted his reference to Hamas, giving the impression he had called for death to all Palestinians.
The video went viral, along with the calls to cancel the tenured professor who dared challenge the protesters’ attack on the Jewish State. Within hours of the rally, the campus community reportedly filed multiple Title IX complaints against him for discrimination on the basis of national origin and hate speech. The next day, a student group filed a petition calling for his termination.
And by the following Monday, the school banned Strauss from campus for the rest of the semester, relegating him to teaching on Zoom.
But now, the university has announced, “all of the restrictions previously placed on Professor Strauss have … been lifted.”
At the time he imposed the restriction, USC Provost Andrew Guzman said the move was not meant to punish Strauss. The school continues to insist that is the case, according to the student newspaper:
Strauss ‘has in no way been disciplined or punished for engaging in protected speech,’ read an updated statement published Saturday to the Provost’s website. The ‘interim measures’ that had been placed on Strauss, which restricted him to remote interactions with students for the remainder of the semester, were not punitive and only to ‘ensure a safe learning environment.’
Strauss’s lawyer isn’t buying that, however. As reported earlier in the Jerusalem Post, she “disputed USC’s characterization of its actions toward Strauss, who remains under investigation for Title IX violations. She pointed out the double standard applied to pro-Palestinian vs. pro-Israel speech
in which universities are more willing to discipline inflammatory pro-Israel speech than pro-Palestinian comments, pointing to recent USC protests in which students chanted, “There is only one solution: intifada, revolution.”
‘As far as I know, the people who chanted that are not under investigation,’ she said.
The school’s announcement follows steadily mounting public pressure to bring Strauss back. In the days since he was banished from campus, a competing petitition to reinstate him gathered over 21,000 signatures—about three times as many as his opponents’ petition to get rid of him.
USC admitted in its recent updated statement that videos of Strauss spread on social media “appear to have been edited in misleading ways,” according to the student newspaper, and that it found “many of the comments under the viral posts “quite alarming”—a surprising acknowledgment that if there’s any concern about safety, it’s likely to be over his safety.DONATE
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