Oberlin Has Finally Had Enough

Oberlin, a notoriously liberal private college in Ohio, is best known for numbering Michelle Malkin among its alumni. Currently, Oberlin employs Joy Karega as a professor in its rhetoric and composition department.

Ms. Karega has been characterized as an anti-Semite, which at least partly covers the case. She is in hot water because of social media posts like these:


So ISIS is an Israeli front group. As was Charlie Hebdo, if I understand her correctly. She made the claim explicitly in this Facebook post:


Ms. Karega’s fantasies extend to American politics, where she tells us “who ALL American presidents work for.” Well, she doesn’t actually tell us, but I think she means the Jews, because the headline below the photograph, which is cut off here, reads: “$12 million for Holocaust survivors from Obama administration”:


Karega thinks the Jews are responsible for the AIDS virus, too, along with shooting down various airplanes:


As reflected in that Facebook post, she is obsessed with the Rothschilds. In that respect, she is something of a throwback. This one you probably want to click to enlarge:


There is more, but you get the drift. For obvious reasons, Ms. Karega became controversial at Oberlin. Which caused Oberlin’s president, Marvin Krislov, to stick up for her. He saw it as a free speech issue:

“Since the initial blog post, I have heard from many people,” Krislov wrote. “Their messages range from demands for the professor’s immediate dismissal to demands that her right to free expression be defended at all costs.

“I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Regardless of the reason for spreading these materials, they cause pain for many people — members of our community and beyond.

I am also the son of a tenured faculty member at a large research university. My father instilled in me a strong belief in academic freedom. I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is ‘the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education’ because it encourages free inquiry, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish.”

Of course, Ms. Karega, as a leftist, doesn’t believe in free speech: “[T]here is no such thing as ‘free speech and expression.'” But is this really a free speech issue? Oberlin’s Board of Trustees has overruled President Krislov and moved against Ms. Karega:

Oberlin College’s governing body has denounced as “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” social media posts by a professor that included suggestions Israeli and United States intelligence services were behind terror attacks.

The board of trustees called on the private liberal arts institution in Ohio to conduct a review and report back to it for possible action in the wake of Facebook posts by Joy Karega, a professor in the rhetoric and composition department.

“These grave issues must be considered expeditiously,” Clyde S. McGregor, the board chairman, said in a statement March 5 after a quarterly meeting. “In consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the board has asked the administration and faculty to challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings and to report back to the Board.”

So there is a point beyond which even supine college trustees cannot be pushed.

This is the point I want to make: as to Oberlin, this is not a free speech issue. If someone suggested that Ms. Karega should be criminally prosecuted, it would make sense to assert her First Amendment rights as a defense. But no one is saying that. The question is, should she be a professor at Oberlin College?

Karega’s writings reveal her to be 1) a lunatic, and 2) a person of low moral character. The question is not whether she has a legal right to write as she did, but rather whether Oberlin should employ such a person to teach its students. It is a safe assumption that parents who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their sons and daughters to Oberlin do not expect them to be taught by 1) lunatics or 2) people of low character. It is that expectation to which the college’s Board of Trustees belatedly speaks. Ms. Karega has now deleted her social media posts and lawyered up, but her dismissal cannot come too soon.

Finally, I note that Ms. Karega’s impending demise is a function of the fact that she does not have tenure. As I understand it, if she were a tenured professor, she would be able to spew insanity with impunity. So tenure rules need to be changed.