USC Professor Initially Banned for Hamas Comments Allowed Campus Return

USC Professor John Strauss, aged 78, is allowed to return to campus while the university investigates his comments during a student protest about Hamas. A video captured him calling protesting students “ignorant” and referring to Hamas as “murderers.” The university noted that some video clips may have been edited misleadingly. The video went viral, leading to petitions both for and against his termination.

The university initially placed Strauss on paid administrative leave, restricting him from campus and canceling his undergraduate classes.

Later, he was granted permission to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses via Zoom. USC officials, after reviewing the video and comments, directed him to teach online for the remainder of the semester as a precautionary measure to ensure a safe environment.

The university clarified that Strauss faced no disciplinary action for engaging in protected speech.

As of the latest statement on December 2, all restrictions on Professor Strauss have been lifted. The incident underscores the broader conflict between students, faculty, and administration at various colleges amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The federal government has initiated civil rights investigations into several universities over allegations of antisemitism or Islamophobia since the conflict’s onset, as part of the Biden administration’s anti-discrimination efforts in schools.

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