Community Must Acknowledge Anti-Semitism

Jade Schiff, Assistant Professor of Politics

To the Editors:

Kudos to Oliver Bok and the staff of The Oberlin Review for careful and responsible report­ing on the ongoing governance process concerning Profes­sor Karega in what is, to put it mildly, a low-information envi­ronment (“Karega Governance Process Enters Seventh Month,” Sept. 2, 2016). That confidenti­ality is necessary makes the lack of information no less frustrating, especially given how long the process is drag­ging on for reasons that cannot be disclosed.

However, I remain troubled by the equivocation about the substance of the Facebook posts — “many considered” they were anti-Semitic — which I had hoped would have been settled by the many, many interventions about them in the Review and in campus dis­cussions last year. Clearly, it has not been settled, so to reit­erate: The content of the posts was anti-Semitic. Period. As a matter of historical and con­temporary context, as a moral matter and as a matter of intel­lectual honesty, we have got to stop waffling about this. The fact that the posts were anti-Semitic ought not to dictate any particular outcome of the Professional Conduct Review Committee investigation, but it is a fact nonetheless.

This is not the first time that our community has confronted bigotry and been called upon to acknowledge it. It has never been easy. That we still cannot do it suggests that we have a lot to learn.

– Jade Schiff

Assistant Professor of Politics