Graphic
|

At Temple University Officials Under Pressure To Sack Adjunct Who Made anti-Semitic Comments

by Adam Kredo

Temple University is seeking to reassure donors and top officials after a member of its staff engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric on a secret listserv and questioned the deaths of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

Temple president Neil Theobald blasted out a message to university trustees over the weekend after the school came under fire for initially defending the controversial professor in comments made to the Washington Free Beacon.

alessioTemple University adjunct professor Alessio Lerro (left) originally came under fire from Jewish scholars after he and other professors were caught on a secret listserv engaging in highly inflammatory anti-Semitic discourse about a resolution by the Modern Language Association (MLA) to boycott Israel.

Lerro accused “Jewish scholars” of having “humungous influence” over the entirety of academia and said, “It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967,” according to one message left on the listserv.

A Temple University spokesman initially defended Lerro’s right to engage in such discourse when approached by the Washington Free Beacon last week.

“Temple University promotes open discussion and expression among its diverse community of scholars,” the spokesman said. “The exercise of academic freedom necessarily results in a vigorous exchange of ideas.”

After Jewish scholars and others expressed outrage at the university’s refusal to condemn Lerro’s remarks, Theobald addressed the issue in an email to the school’s trustees.

“You may have heard media reports about highly contentious statements made by a Temple adjunct instructor regarding the holocaust,” Theobald wrote in an email titled, “media issue,” according to a copy of the note obtained by the Free Beacon.

“The statements were made in a private, members-only academic forum, not at Temple University,” he wrote. “These statements have incited strong reaction, and rightly so. The university, predictably but nonetheless inappropriately, has been painted with those statements, which were those of the speaker and not Temple.”

Theobald then attached a new statement that he said the university is giving to reporters asking about the controversy.

“The statement below has and will be provided to media inquiries in order to make it clear that the adjunct instructor does not speak for the university,” he wrote, before attaching the statement, which read:

It is Temple University’s position that the ample historical evidence, scholarship and research regarding the horrific impact of the Holocaust on the Jewish people is a strong counterpoint to Mr. Lerro’s statements. Mr. Lerro’s opinion is solely his own and not that of Temple University. Temple University condemns in the strongest possible terms the disparagement of any person or persons based on religion, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, or identity.

“Please let me know if you have any questions,” Theobald wrote.

Lerro’s comments and the subsequent statement from Temple sparked outrage among Jewish scholars, who said that questioning the Holocaust does not amount to scholarly discourse.

“Vigorous exchange of ideas? Let us be clear. A person who questions and mocks the central fact about history’s worst crime is not acting like a scholar but a bigot,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said.

“I refuse to believe that the true scholars at Temple University would equate hate with historic fact when any group would be targeted in such a way,” Cooper said.

Other professors on the listserv also were found to be engaging in controversial rhetoric about Jewish people and Israel.

Professor Elizabeth Ordonez, a retired Spanish professor from Metropolitan State University in Denver, wrote that “Zionist attack dogs” are unduly pressuring the resolution’s supporters.

“As on the broader political scene, moves to seek justice and opportunity for Palestinians (or to remove obstacles to achieving those goals) are countered by Zionist attack dogs,” Ordonez wrote in a March 22 post on the leaked listserv. “When the Zionist lobby railroads its way through Congress, universities, and civil society no request is made for equal time for the other side.”

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=5917

Leave a Reply

Keep in Touch With AdjunctNation

Graphic Graphic Graphic

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Archives

Graphic
Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

From the Archive

  • Review: Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

    by Vicki Urquhart Who isn’t looking for a better job these days? More than 36 percent of 1,000-plus people polled by the U.K. career consultancy firm Penna Sanders & Sidney said that they spent part of the first day in a new job thinking about how to get a better one (Ragan Report, July 28). […]

  • Make Sure You Have a CV or Résumé That Travels Well

    by Mary Anne Thompson INTEREST AMONG SEASONED professionals in pursuing international careers has skyrocketed in recent years. Such interest has been enhanced by chronic personnel shortages in home markets that are causing foreign companies to search beyond their borders for talent. These candidates aren’t passively waiting to be hired by just any employer. They’re targeting […]

  • EndNote Version 5 For Windows

    by Diane Calabrese EndNote Verson 5. ISI ResearchSoft, Berkeley, California, 2001. List price: $329.95 (Students in North America with valid ID: $109.95) READ AND STUDY and write, and inevitably notes and excerpts and ticklers begin to accumulate. It doesn’t take long before even an electronic compilation of the prose too profound to let go becomes almost too unwieldy […]

  • Tribal College Journal

    by Vicki Urquhart The Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education 4 issues per year Institutional subscription: $30 per year; Individual subscription: $22 per year 1 P.O. Box 720, Mancos, CO 80328 WHEN YOU PICK up a professional journal, you expect it to be worth your time, and Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education (TCJ) […]

  • NYU Adjunct Faculty Vote to Strike

    The ACT-UAW Local 7902 — a union made up of adjunct professors from NYU and the New School — has negotiated with and made proposals to the NYU administration for nine months regarding health benefits, equitable pay and compensation, among other grievances. The union recently held a vote to see how many of its members were in favor of authorizing a strike against the university and 94 percent of the union’s 2,500 members voted in favor of the strike.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Recently Commented

  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.