New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Professor suspended after criticism of Israel-Hamas war coverage

A professor who received online criticism over his remarks on media coverage of the Israel-Hamas war was recently suspended from his position.
(Courtesy of Amin Husain)
(Courtesy of Amin Husain)

Gallatin professor Amin Husain, a longtime pro-Palestinian activist, was suspended from his position last week after a video of him criticizing media coverage of Hamas amid Israel’s war with the militant group surfaced online. Husain’s suspension follows a monthslong push for him to be removed from his position — an Oct. 17 petition demanding Husain’s removal “due to his promotion of hate speech against Jews” has garnered over 6,400 signatures. 

Over a week prior to his suspension, NYU’s Office of Human Resources requested to meet with Husain, according to a written statement to WSN from the Parachute Project — the civil liberties organization representing Husain. HR then met with Husain twice, allegedly asking him questions about his “speech-related activities” and affiliation with Decolonize This Place — an advocacy group in support of Free Palestine, as well as Black liberation, Indigenous resurgence and de-gentrification — which Husain is reportedly a co-founder of

Parachute Project also claimed that during Husain’s meetings, HR asked about DTP’s social media posts “relating to the war on Gaza.” HR informed Husain of allegations and complaints made against him, but “refused to provide further context,” according to the statement.

In the video, Husain called New York a “Zionist city” and said reports that Hamas militants are “rapists” and claims that they are “people that behead babies” are “not true” at a teach-in held by The New School’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on Dec. 5. Husain has worked at the university as an adjunct professor since 2016, and was scheduled to teach two classes this semester, both of which have been canceled.

NYU spokesperson John Beckman announced Husain’s suspension in a Jan. 25 universitywide statement, which did not offer a reason for the suspension but referenced the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policies. Beckman added that the university investigates all complaints it receives and takes “appropriate action,” which can include suspension.

On Jan. 23, students in Husain’s Social Justice Lab class received an email that the class had been canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances,” according to documents obtained by WSN. Five hours later, Husain sent an email to the class saying he had been suspended.

“He’s never overtly said anything antisemitic or against Jewish people,” a student enrolled in the class, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, said. “He’s just anti-Israel and anti-Zionist, which I think has been conflated as being hatred toward Jewish people, and especially at NYU, anything that is in support of Palestine is seen as being anti-Jewish, which is not true at all.”

The university uses the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which includes “the targeting of the state of Israel,” in its non-discrimination policies.

Husain was notified he would be suspended for the duration of an Office of Equal Opportunity investigation on Jan. 23. The notification came through two letters, one from the College of Arts & Science and another from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, according to Parachute Project. Parachute Project also said the letters did not disclose “the nature of the allegations or complaints.”

Other incidents related to the Israel-Hamas war on campus have also resulted in disciplinary action from NYU. On Nov. 30, university president Linda Mills released a student conduct report revealing the university has reviewed over 90 conduct cases related to on-campus tensions over the war. Mills added that some cases ended in disciplinary action, including “significant suspensions.” Last semester, NYU suspended a student who was identified online after tearing down posters of Israeli hostages outside the Stern School of Business.

“[Husain] has never had student complaints. On the contrary, he is a popular teacher, which is why departments continue to call on him to offer courses,” the Parachute Project’s statement reads. “The administrative actions appear to be a clear violation of academic freedom.”

Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Bruna Horvath, News Editor
Bruna Horvath is a sophomore studying journalism and English at CAS. When she’s not a Deputy News Editor, she’s a "Gone Girl" enthusiast, a Goodreads lover, and a Barnes & Noble frequenter. You can usually find her ordering an iced mocha, telling people her name is “Bruna” not “Bruno,” or on Instagram @brunaahorvath.
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  • F

    Frank HammerFeb 3, 2024 at 4:51 pm

    We must do all we can to defend pro-liberation speech!

    Reply
  • U

    Ursalina G.Jan 29, 2024 at 12:21 pm

    This is absolutely reprehensible of NYU.

    Reply