USC professor banned over Hamas comments permitted to return to campus

US

(The Hill) — University of Southern California (USC) professor John Strauss is permitted to return to campus as the university continues its investigation into the comments he made during a student protest about Hamas, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Strauss, a 78-year-old economics professor, was filmed during a Nov. 9 protest on the USC campus calling the students protesting “ignorant” and calling the Palestinian militant group Hamas “murderers.” He was then placed on leave and barred from campus.

“Hamas are murderers,” he said, according to a video. “That’s all they are. Everyone should be killed, and I hope they all are killed.”

The video went viral, and opposing petitions called for his termination from the university and for USC to reinstate him.

According to the LA Times, the Jewish professor said the university told him he was placed on paid administrative leave and barred from campus. He was first told he could no longer teach his undergraduate classes but later was granted access to teach both his undergraduate and graduate level courses via Zoom.

“All of the restrictions previously placed on Professor Strauss have now been lifted,” the university said in a statement to the LA Times.

Classes ended for the fall semester on Friday, and final exams will run until Dec. 14.

The Hill has reached out to USC for more information and comment on the matter.

The incident highlights the ongoing conflict between students, faculty and administration at various colleges across the country as the war between Israel and Hamas continues. Several university presidents and administrators have been criticized by members of the community who have not agreed with their responses to the conflict.

The federal government has opened civil rights investigations into several universities over allegations of antisemitism or Islamophobia since the war began, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to dismantle discrimination in schools.

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