Temple trustees chair: Hill’s anti-Israel comments caused ‘immeasurable’ damage to school
CNN fired Hill after this remark. Temple has condemned the comment, but acknowledged the professor's free speech rights.
Temple University professor and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill called for a “free Palestine from river to the sea.”
Temple Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor is the latest key stakeholder to speak out, claiming that the comment caused the school “immeasurable” damage, including a possible loss in donations.
Temple University’s Board of Trustees chairman said that professor and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Israel comments caused the school “immeasurable” damage, including a possible loss in donations.
Hill called for a “free Palestine from river to the sea” during a speech at the United Nations and was later fired from the station, as Campus Reform reported. Temple University said in a previous statement that the comment made by Hill “does not represent Temple University and his views are his own.”
Patrick O’Connor, the BOT Chairman, gave his point of view on the incident in an interview with The Temple News. He said he has received “maybe 50” emails regarding Hill’s comments from “alums, professors, students, friends of Israel, politicians, young, old, Black, white.”
O’Connor also suggested that the comments made by Hill will affect the university from a financial standpoint, as multiple donors have promised not to give money to the university after the incident.
“I’ll let you know at the end of the day [what the damage is] when people who used to give us significant amounts of money follow up on their promise never to give another dime,” O’Connor told the newspaper.
The Board of Trustees decided to unanimously condemn Hill's comments but noted that the professor has a constitutional right to free speech.
While the BOT condemned the remarks, O’Connor told the newspaper that some of the trustees “wanted [Hill] fired.”
But, according to the chairman, “it’s not the trustees’ domain to do discipline.”
Andrew Holman, a Temple University political science student, told Campus Reform that he did not think the comments made by Hill were appropriate.
“It was both irresponsible and inappropriate of him to use such anti-Semitic rhetoric in today’s world where anti-Semitism is such a big problem,” Holman said. “Advocating for a Palestine that stretches from ‘river to sea’ (which would encompass all of Israel) is dangerous and quite frankly hateful. It is important that Israel, one of our strongest allies and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East continues to exist and be supported by the United States and its citizens.”
While the political science student condemned Hill’s comments, he also agreed that Temple handled the situation appropriately, acknowledging that the professor has free speech rights.
When asked about Temple losing donations over the matter, Holman said that there is not much the university can do to prevent it.
“I haven’t heard reports of Temple losing out on donations, but if they are, I think it is a shame that this is happening,” the student told Campus Reform. “I think in the future, Mr. Hill, and just people, in general, need to be careful with what they say and think about the consequences their words will have on the institutions they indirectly speak for.”
Overall, Holman thinks that if Hill would have “thought more carefully” before making the comment, “this situation could have been easily avoided.”
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