Oberlin College Professor Put on Paid Leave After Racist Remarks on Facebook

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Many know Oberlin College as one of the first – if not the first – colleges to have mixed-race and mixed-sex classes, breaking barriers in inequality and sparking the country’s educational and social consciousness.

But a series of comments from one of its faculty members on Facebook last March offended many people, with calls of the professor being racist and giving anti-Semitic remarks.

The professor, identified as Joy Karega, had suggested that Israeli and United States intelligence agents (from Mossad and CIA respectively) are behind the series of terrorist attacks.

Although most people might just let the comment slide, the board of trustees wants the Oberlin College administration to look into the matter, as the remarks can be seen as offensive.

Karega was forced to take a leave, as this was not actually the first kind of comments she had published on her social media accounts.

Last year, she made no effort to hide what she thought about the 9/11 attack and how Israel was behind it, among other remarks. She also posted a meme about how the Jewish community now “owned” the United States news, media, oil, and government.

Dr. Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, had published other negative posts in 2015, but the college had defended her saying she had the right to express her views, but the board chairman, Clyde McGregor, said that the media attention Karega’s posts were getting was having a negative impact on the school, and that this was an important matter to discuss.

He urged the college president to conduct further investigations.

The spokesperson for Oberlin College, Scott Wargo, said that Karega had been placed on paid leave, and that she will not be teaching back in the fall.

News reporters tried to reach Karega through email, but she didn’t respond.

Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov said that the school was dedicated to promoting equality and the appropriate “equitable review process”, but when the president’s message reached her, Karega only wrote on her Facebook, “Equitable?” before saying that she still had support from friends and like-minded people, that she had no comment for “trolls”, and that she was just going to enjoy her vacation with her daughter.

Karega shared her sentiments with an attorney in Detroit who wrote in a statement that the administration at Oberlin College was

pandering to the dictates of a handful of vocal and wealthy religious zealots

The statement also made note of Oberlin’s history of giving equal opportunities to female and African-American students, perhaps implying that the Oberlin is bowing down to the demands of religious extremists in higher positions (with subtle reference to the fact that Karega is a black woman).

The college president had met with leaders of Jewish organizations last March, and had left the meeting with the resolve to discuss Karega’s posts in relation to her status as an educator and how this would affect the academic institution, while protecting freedom of speech.

It should also be noted that President Krislov is a Jew, who had family members murdered in the Holocaust.

He had said that although he is personally affected by anti-Semitic comments, he will not use his personal emotions to investigate the current issue.

Rob Clark
 

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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