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

NYU Langone terminates nurse after speech about ‘current genocide in Gaza’

The labor and delivery nurse was fired after saying women in Gaza are “going through unimaginable losses” in an acceptance speech for a compassionate care award.
Kevin Wu
File Photo: NYU Langone’s campus on First Avenue. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

A labor nurse at NYU Langone Health was terminated earlier this month after she spoke about the suffering of women “during the current genocide in Gaza” in a speech when accepting an award for her work aiding mothers who had lost their children during pregnancy and childbirth. 

Hesen Jabr received this year’s Sebastian Brown Compassionate Care Award from NYU Langone’s nursing department on May 7 when she said “it pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses” in the war in Gaza. Jabr, a Palestinian American Muslim, said she was allegedly “dragged into” a meeting with administrators at the medical center on May 22 to discuss how she had “offended people” and “ruined the ceremony” before receiving her termination letter, according to a post on her public Instagram account. 

“I am proud to represent my mother’s and my grandmother’s upbringing through our traditions and customs, which oblige us to always hold space for warmth and compassion for all humans,” Jabr said in a recording of her speech on Instagram. “This award is deeply personal to me for those reasons, even though I can’t hold their hands and comfort them as they grieve their unborn children and the children they have lost during this genocide.”

Steve Ritea, a spokesperson for NYU Langone, told WSN Jabr was “warned” not to “bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace” in December following a previous incident — the details of which he did not specify. Ritea said the medical center has regularly reminded all employees of its Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy.

“She instead chose not to heed that at a recent employee recognition event that was widely attended by her colleagues, some of whom were upset after her comments,” Ritea wrote. “As an institution dedicated to healing, NYU Langone remains committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment, free of discrimination, for all of our employees and patients.”

In November, NYU Langone removed physician Zaki Masoud from his residency program after he reposted a message in support of Palestinian resistance on a private Instagram account. A petition to reinstate him spread across social media soon after, garnering over 100,000 signatures. 

In a separate incident the same month, the former director of NYU Langone Health’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center was terminated after making social media posts related to the war in Gaza, which some have called “racist” and “anti-Arab.” The former director, Benjamin Neel, has since filed a lawsuit against the medical center alleging he was terminated without due process and that he was discriminated against on the basis of religion. 

Jabr did not respond to a request for comment.

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Yezen Saadah
Yezen Saadah, Editor-in-Chief
Yezen Saadah is a junior studying cinema studies, journalism and Middle Eastern studies. He's a lover of cinema, history, art and literature, and he enjoys writing about pretty much anything. If he isn't in the newsroom or at the movies, he's probably just trying to enjoy his day off. Contact him on Instagram @yezen.saadah or send tips to [email protected]
Kevin Wu
Kevin Wu, Digital Director
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu is a senior double-majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and Journalism. He directs everything digital at WSN. You can directly reach him digitally at [email protected].

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