Paul L. Caron

Friday, October 13, 2023

NY Times: At NYU Law And Harvard, Fallout From Israel-Hamas Student Comments Continues

New York Times, At NYU Law and Harvard, Fallout From Israel-Hamas Comments Continues:

A law firm’s job offer to a New York University law student was rescinded on Tuesday for what the firm described as “inflammatory comments” about Hamas’s attack that killed at least 1,200 Israelis. And at Harvard, student groups began to take back their signatures on a letter that blamed Israel for the violence.

The actions were part of a wave of fallout on campuses for students, who are deeply polarized over the fighting.

At N.Y.U., Ryna Workman, the president of the university’s Student Bar Association, wrote in a message to the group on Tuesday that “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”

“This regime of state-sanctioned violence created the conditions that made resistance necessary,” Mx. Workman wrote in the Student Bar Association bulletin. “I will not condemn Palestinian resistance.”

The backlash was swift.

By evening, the law firm, Winston & Strawn, said the comments “profoundly conflict” with its values and without naming the student, said it rescinded its offer of employment.

The same day, the dean of the law school, Troy A. McKenzie, repudiated the student’s remarks. “This message was not from N.Y.U. School of Law as an institution and does not speak for the leadership of the law school,” Mr. McKenzie wrote. ...

In May 2021, Mx. Workman, who is nonbinary, posted on Facebook that they were excited to be attending law school and that they wanted to help increase the number of Black female lawyers. ...

At Harvard, there was continued fallout from a letter issued over the weekend by a coalition of student groups holding Israel “entirely responsible” for the violence. On Tuesday, Bill Ackman, a prominent hedge fund manager, said that some chief executives had asked for a list of members in the student organizations, to ensure that “none of us inadvertently hire any of their members,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president, had criticized the university’s administration for not immediately repudiating the student letter. But in an interview on Wednesday, he said that while he still condemned the letter, punishing individual signers would be problematic.

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