The Oberlin Review

Joy Karega Deserved to be Fired

Tom Cohn, College Senior

November 30, 2018

The Review recently reported that Joy Karega is suing Oberlin over her dismissal, her case “claiming breach of contract and employment discrimination on the basis of race and gender” (“Karega Sues College, Claiming Discrimination,” The Oberlin Review, Nov. 16, 2018). She actually got fired for posting indisputably anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Facebook. Does anyone think this constitutes discrimination against her? Firing Karega reflected basic morality and logic. We know in principle that any institution is justified in firing someone who, even in their personal life, publicly endorses vulgar, racist ideas. Many of Karega’s defenders likely concede as much. For example, when yet another white person h...

Karega Sues College, Claiming Discrimination

Sydney Allen, Editor-in-Chief

November 16, 2018

Joy Karega, a former assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin, filed a lawsuit against the College last Friday claiming breach of contract and employment discrimination on the basis of race and gender. The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, seeks $855,000 in damages. In February 2016, The Tower, a conservative, pro-Israeli magazine, posted a series of alleged anti-Semitic posts found on Karega’s personal Facebook page, sparking national and local controversy. Karega was placed on academic leave that month and was ultimately fired November 2017, following a nine-month review process. Her termination initiated a national conversation around academic liberties and free speech. ...

Karega Fired After Split Faculty Recommendations

Oliver Bok, News Editor

November 18, 2016

The Board of Trustees fired former Rhetoric and Composition Professor Joy Karega Tuesday after nine months of bitter argument and national media attention. Karega’s Facebook posts, which were the crux of the conflict, included claims that Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies fund the Islamic State and that Israel orchestrated the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last year. Karega also shared an image of a member of the Rothschild family, which is Jewish, that said the family owns the media, government and oil. According to an email sent to the College community Tuesday, the board voted to fire Karega for “failing to meet the academic standards that Oberlin requires of its faculty and failing to demonstrate intellectual...

Cohesion Critical for Oberlin Community

Officers of the Oberlin Alumni Association

November 18, 2016

To the Editors: This has been a difficult week on the Oberlin campus and for the alumni community, specifically because of the election results and the process itself, the student arrests arising from an incident at Gibson’s and now the dismissal of Dr. Joy Karega. As the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, and given the quick turnaround required to get this to press, we feel individually compelled to respond to the community. People are divided in their opinions, reactions and feelings, all of which are valid, important and deserve to be heard. The outcomes of existing laws, structures and governance processes do not necessarily yield results with which everyone can feel happy and supportive. We diffe...

College Must Protect Academic Freedom

Anh Lê, Parent of an Oberlin alumnus

November 4, 2016

To the Editors: I recently learned of Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega being put on leave of absence. Oberlin is renowned for its tradition of intellectual inquiry, free thought, rigorous debate and exchange of ideas. I call on Oberlin College to protect the College’s adherence and commitment to the values of academic freedom, free speech and intellectual inquiry. I urge Oberlin to deliberate this matter with rational discourse, integrity and fairness. One doesn’t have to necessarily agree or disagree with some of the Facebook contents that Professor Karega posted. Discussions of different social and political issues are vital to the Oberlin College community, including topics such as divestment ...

Alumni Influenced Governance Process, Karega Says

Eliza Guinn, Staff Writer

September 30, 2016

Breaking nearly two months of silence, Professor of Composition and Rhetoric Joy Karega returned to campus for a student-organized meeting in Afrikan Heritage House Wednesday night. Karega told those in attendance she was planning to teach this semester before the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness sent a letter to the Board of Trustees in late July. According to Karega, the faculty-led review held in June recommended neither dismissal nor suspension, and the College only suspended her after receiving the letter. She was originally put on leave last semester following the publication of Facebook posts that many found anti-Semitic. “The review process has stalled because many within and beyond the...

Oberlin ACF Addresses Student Senate Letter

Melissa Landa

September 21, 2016

Student Senate, in consultation with current and former members of ABUSUA, Oberlin J Street U and Students for a Free Palestine, released a letter yesterday morning condemning the actions of the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness. Oberlin ACF President Melissa Landa issued a response to the letter last night. The text of the response is below.   In response to today's letter from Oberlin's Student Senate, we would like to share with you the following: The purpose of [Alums for Campus Fairness] is to respond to students who have reported disturbing incidents and incitement on campus. We make no apologies for sharing the incendiary Facebook posts of Professor Karega with the Oberlin administration,...

Student Senate Condemns OCACF Actions

September 20, 2016

The original version of this letter listed Oberlin J Street U as a consultant. Since the letter's publication, members of Oberlin J Street U have requested that the organization's name be removed. For more information, read our full coverage of Student Senate's letter, ACF's symposium and students' responses. In consultation with current and former members of ABUSUA and Students for a Free Palestine, Student Senate drafted a letter condemning the actions of certain alumni over the last year; including the surveillance, intimidation, marginalization and harassment of students. The text of the letter is below. Oberlin students, Since late 2015, a group of Oberlin alumni have driven a narrative of rampant ant...

Karega Governance Process Enters Seventh Month

Oliver Bok, News Editor

September 2, 2016

As Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega’s governance process enters its seventh month, many members of the Oberlin community are asking: What’s taking so long? The disciplinary process began all the way back in March when the Board of Trustees requested that the College begin an official governance process and investigate Professor Joy Karega for Facebook posts that many considered anti-Semitic. “None of us outside of those people on the specific committees have any idea why it’s taken so long and what exactly is going on,” said Chris Howell, Politics department chair. While faculty governance processes are always confidential, the sheer length of the process — as well as the unique issues...

College Should Remember Commitment to Intellectual Freedom

Anh Lê, Parent

May 6, 2016

To the Editors: This has been an intense school year at Oberlin College. Such is not a surprise. Oberlin is renowned and highly respected for its tradition and legacy of encouraging intellectual inquiry, free thought, rigorous debate and exchange of ideas. I wish to offer my perspective regarding the situation and controversy surrounding Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega. I acknowledge the strong passions and feelings of the individuals and groups on both sides — those who strongly support and defend Professor Karega, and those who denounce her. First and foremost, we must show Professor Karega the full and complete respect that she deserves as a professor at Oberlin College and for ...

Scholarship Missing from Karega’s Theories

Wendy Beth Hyman, Associate Professor of English

April 29, 2016

When I first was made aware of Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega’s postings on social media by a colleague, I was disgusted by her claims that Israel and “Zionist Jews” were somehow behind ISIS, Charlie Hebdo, the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 and even 9/11. Even more distressing were posts that promulgated a claim of a secret Jewish conspiracy behind the media, the economy and the world’s governments. I have come across such materials before in archival sources documenting the anti-Semitic propaganda that helped launch the Holocaust and on contemporary neo-Nazi websites. My colleague disseminated other conspiracies, too, like the existence of government-controlled “chemtr...

Resolution in Karega Case Requires Constructive Dialogue

Josh Goodman, College junior

April 29, 2016

To the Editors: Since the revelation of unsettling Facebook posts by Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega in February, there have seemingly been two non-overlapping dialogues going on on campus which exist in a void rather than in conversation with each other. I think that both of these groups have fundamentally correct points but that their ideas need to be considered in conjunction with one another, rather than against each other, to reach any meaningful resolution. The posts made by Professor Karega were despicable and inexcusable, which I think is — to the large majority of campus — beyond a shadow of a doubt. When I first heard rumors about what had occurred, I wrote them off as likely...

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