CUNY Graduate Center president resigns after hiring an anti-Semite

Robin Garrell will leave her post at the end of September, seemingly connected to extensive controversy for her granting the final approval to hire Marc Lamont Hill.

A former CNN employee, Hill used an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel trope frequently told by terrorist groups while he was speaking at a pro-Palestine United Nations event in 2018.

A City University of New York (CUNY) president is leaving her position just one month after hiring an open anti-Semite to the faculty.

On Aug. 28, CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez announced that its Graduate Center President Robin Garrell will be stepping down at the end of September. Although no reason was provided for Garrell’s sudden resignation after only three years as president, her departure follows controversy surrounding her hiring of Marc Lamont Hill.

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”[W]e congratulate President Garrell on her accomplishments, thank her for her service to the Graduate Center and CUNY, and wish her well in her future endeavors,” Rodriguez stated.

Hill joined the faculty in August as a Presidential Professor of Urban Education. Known for his strong anti-Israel views, Hill is listed on the school’s web page as a “radical educator” whose research areas include “Abolitionism,” “Racialization,” “State Violence,” “Settler-Colonialism,” “African Diaspora,” and “Palestine.”

In 2018, CNN fired Hill, who was a news contributor at the time, after a speech he made criticizing Israel while at the United Nations. One of the phrases he used in the speech, “from the river to sea,” is considered an anti-Semitic “rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers” like Hamas, according to the American Jewish Committee.

“We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action … that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” Hill said at the UN’s 2018 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Campus Reform covered the incident in December 2018 while Hill was a tenured professor at Temple University. At the time, Temple board chairman Patrick O’Connor told The Philadelphia Inquirer that if Hill had worked outside of academia, his employer would opt to “fire him immediately.”

”Free speech is one thing,” O’Connor stated. “Hate speech is entirely different.”

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a former CUNY trusteeblasted the institution for Hill’s hiring in August, stating, “The pro-Palestinian phrase from ‘river to the sea’ means pushing the Jews to the sea or extermination.”

Similarly, NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, blamed Garrell for Hill’s hiring, stating that she “sat through hours of our City Council hearing last summer, & listened to testimony after testimony about pervasive antisemitic & anti-Israel environment that students & professors face at [CUNY].”

[RELATED: GWU declines to punish prof who reportedly called all Israelis ‘f*cking racist’]

“Every day that Marc Lamont Hill keeps his job at CUNY is a stain on this institution,” she added on X on Aug. 29.

This is not the first time CUNY has come under fire for promoting anti-Semitic faculty members. In May, Campus Reform covered a report issued by SAFE CUNY, a campus-based Jewish support group, on “How CUNY Became the Most Systemically Antisemitic U.S. University in Just Two Years.” 

Campus Reform has contacted CUNY, Garrell, and Hill for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.