Oberlin College’s Board of Trustees has labeled social media posts by Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, as “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” and has demanded that school leaders “challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings” and report back.

Karega has come under fire for sharing Facebook postings that have claimed, among other things, that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last year, and that the Islamic State militant group is a creation of the Israeli Mossad secret service.

Oberlin President Marvin Krislov issued a statement last week saying in part:

“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.”

However, he said:

“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.”

But Oberlin’s Board of Trustees later ordered school officials “to  challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings” and to report back to the board. Here’s the statement:

Statement by Clyde McGregor on behalf of Oberlin College Board of Trustees

At our quarterly Board meeting yesterday, the Trustees of Oberlin College discussed postings on social media by an Oberlin faculty member.
These postings are anti-Semitic and abhorrent. We deplore anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin.
These grave issues must be considered expeditiously. 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.
From its founding, Oberlin College has stood for inclusion, respect, and tolerance. We still do.
Clyde S. McGregor ’74, Chair, Oberlin College Board of Trustees

And here’s an earlier statement issued about the episode:

JOINT OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Addressing Seriousness of Anti-Semitic Views Expressed by Oberlin College Professor
CLEVELAND – In response to the recent anti-Semitic views expressed on social media by an Oberlin College assistant professor that garnered international attention, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, AJC Cleveland, the Anti-Defamation League Cleveland Region and the Cleveland Hillel Foundation met with Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov and several of his senior staff. In a welcoming atmosphere, we discussed, openly and candidly, the potential implications of a professor’s personal views on classroom activity and student intimidation. We also discussed our shared respect for academic freedom.
The administration is taking its role seriously. President Krislov and his team are committed to providing a safe environment on campus for all students, regardless of religion. Building on a long and positive relationship, Oberlin College and representatives of the Cleveland Jewish community are working collaboratively to recommend programming that can facilitate a positive discourse on campus to address the consequences and sources of anti-Semitism.
All parties understand and accept that the college is required to follow established academic procedures when addressing questions regarding an individual faculty member. The Jewish community members present were satisfied that Oberlin College is following those procedures and look forward to learning the outcome of that process.

The Oberlin website says about Karega in a brief biography:

Her teaching and research interests include Black political and protest literacies, translingual composition, rhetoric and composition historiography, social justice writing, and writing pedagogy. She is currently working on a book project that draws upon archival research and oral history and historicizes the political literacy education of the Black Liberation Front International, a Black student organization at Michigan State University from 1968 to 1975.