As Red State‘s Alex Parker wrote a few days ago, New York University President Andrew Hamilton apologized on Thursday for a controversial commencement speech featuring NYU graduate Steven William Thrasher. The speech Thrasher gave Monday degenerated into an anti-Israel, pro-BDS, anti-Trump bashfest that offended some in attendance.
Here’s a quick recap via Newsweek of what Thrasher said during the speech, which was delivered at the NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science:
“I am so proud, so proud of NYU’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace and of [Graduate Student Organizing Committee] and of the NYU student government and of my colleagues in the department of social and cultural analysis for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement against the apartheid state government in Israel,” Thrasher said.
He told graduates it was what they were “called to do” and part of their “NYU legacy.” He added that it was their duty and privilege to “protect not the most popular among us but the most vulnerable among us.”
Thrasher also noted during his speech that many of the people in the room participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Black Lives Matters protests and marched against the “fascist in the White House.”
NYU President Hamilton also said after the fact that he was “shocked” to learn of Thrasher’s anti-Semitic history.
The retweet was met with a yawn by the mainstream media, of course.
As to Thrasher’s future when it comes to higher ed institutions, no worries. He’s just getting ready to start a professorship at Northwestern University in a few days.
Northwestern’s President Morton Schapiro and Provost Jonathan Holloway issued a statement Friday noting that while they were troubled by Thrasher’s commencement remarks, Northwestern nevertheless remained committed to diversity or something and welcomed Thrasher to their campus in the spirit of “inclusion”:
Steven Thrasher will join the faculty at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications on June 1. His professorship will focus on issues related to social justice, with an emphasis on topics relevant to the LGBTQ community.
Many were understandably offended by some of the comments made by Dr. Thrasher during his commencement speech at New York University earlier this week. We do not share all of his views, nor do we feel commencement was the appropriate venue to express them. However, academic freedom assures his right to hold them.
While Dr. Thrasher will not be the first Northwestern faculty member who supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, Northwestern as an institution unequivocally rejects BDS. To the contrary, we value our many relationships with a variety of universities and research centers in Israel.
As always, Northwestern remains firmly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our goal as an institution is to work toward constructive engagement within the context of freedom of academic inquiry and expression. We expect all members of our community to promote these values in an environment free of coercion and intimidation.
The term “useful idiots” comes to mind.
—Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–