from Striker (Beth Harpaz):
A Stanford University professor has been suspended for what the president and provost described as “identity-based targeting” of students in connection with the war between Israel and Gaza.
Rabbi Dov Greenberg, director of the Chabad Stanford Jewish Center, said three students who were in the room told him that the teacher had asked Jewish and Israeli students to introduce themselves during a session for a required undergraduate course called “Civic, Liberal, and Global.” education.”
The teacher asked the Jewish students to take their luggage, stand in the corner, and said: “This is what Israel does to the Palestinians,” citing the students’ accounts. Then the coach asked: How many people died in the Holocaust? When one of the students answered: “Six million,” the lecturer said: “The colonizers killed more than 6 million. Israel is a colony.”
This appears to be the incident referred to by the President and Dean of Stanford University here:
We received a report of a class in which a non-faculty teacher addressed the conflict in the Middle East in a way that called upon individual students in the class based on their backgrounds and identities. Without prejudging the matter, this report raises serious concern. Academic freedom does not allow students to be targeted based on their identity. The teacher in this course is not currently teaching while the university is working to confirm the reality of the situation.
I agree that universities might generally prohibit targeting individual students for hostile treatment because they are Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Palestinian, white, black, or anything else, and perhaps they should do so. (I say “hostile treatment” because we can all think of friendly, productive requests that relate to background and identities—for example, when a teacher discussing some question regarding, say, the doctrine of a religion or life in a foreign country asks whether some students might Talk about it based on their personal knowledge, which is often closely related to their religion or national origin. However, this case does not seem to fall into that mold.)
There is also a separate question about how discussion of Israel’s alleged wrongdoings — or, for that matter, Hamas’ actions — relates to “civic, liberal, and cosmopolitan education.” But perhaps there is some such connection, as the title seems to indicate Several different categories, which may be too broad. In any case, rightly or wrongly, modern universities generally give teachers a great deal of flexibility to bring discussion of even unrelated current events into the classroom (and sometimes even encourage it). That’s why, I believe, the Stanford president and dean’s letter focused on targeting rather than on the teacher using the classroom to spread his or her own ideas about unrelated political topics.