The conspiracy theories surrounding Jews and Israel espoused by Oberlin College Professor Joy Karega, first reported on Thursday by The Tower, have prompted a tepid response from the school, despite mounting controversy.
In a statement initially published on an alumni Facebook page and later communicated to The Tower, Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov wrote:
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.
The response, which disassociated Oberlin from Karega’s postings, failed to address the offensiveness of her conspiracies, prompting Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz to tell The Tower, “If Karega had expressed comparably bigoted views about Blacks, Muslims or gays, the President of Oberlin would not have posted the boilerplate he posted. He would have condemned those views, even if he defended her right to express them.”
According to one alumna of the school who contacted The Tower, “President Krislov’s response shows that the Oberlin administration simply does not care about virulent anti-semitism on its own campus. Although I haven’t been a student there for many years, it is still deeply hurtful to see how little the administration cares about its Jewish students.”
A group of alumni wrote an open letter to Krislov and Oberlin’s administration earlier this year, calling on the college to address “the continued intimidation of Jewish students and the many other forms of anti-Semitism occurring on campus.”
Washington Post contributor David Bernstein wrote a few weeks ago about the Facebook post of a recent Oberlin alumna who asserted that multiple progressive students at the college dismissed the Holocaust as “white-on-white crime.” Bernstein observed that based on this and other incidents described by the alumna, which ranged “from gross insensitivity to blatant anti-Semitism,” it is evident that “those who are the most acutely sensitive to and active against other forms of racism, ignore anti-Semitism, belittle it and, in some cases participate in it.”
Krislov’s response to Karega differs significantly from his response to a series of reported hate crimes three years ago. After the perpetrators behind those crimes were identified and removed from campus, Krislov wrote, “When confronted by bias, our community turned our shared values into meaningful, positive action.”
[Photo: Oberlin College / YouTube ]