University of Illinois-Chicago Professor Announces Early Retirement- Cites ‘Institutional Antisemitism’ | The Gateway Pundit


Barbara J. Risman, Professor of Sociology at University of Illinois-Chicago

Barbara J. Risman, a College of Arts & Sciences distinguished professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, planned to continue teaching at the school she called her “beloved academic home” for the past 17 years.

But the disgusting displays of antisemitism from pro-Hamas protestors on college campuses changed everything.

When asked about the tenor of the pro-Palestinian demonstrations and the overall climate on campus since October 7 by the Times of Israel, Risman shared, “The demonstrations are never framed as being about ending the war, helping Gazans, or rebuilding Gaza; all things I could get behind. Instead, everything is framed as an assault on the right of Jews to have a homeland. That’s when I personally feel attacked. That’s when it becomes antisemitic.”

“Jewish students no longer want people to know they’re Jewish. Israeli students no longer want to speak in public because their voices will call attention to them.”

In an Op-Ed for The Chicago Tribune, Risman expands on how the anti-Jewish sentiment infecting campuses across the country led her to the difficult decision to leave her post.

Just days after Hamas’ terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7, the faculty in women and gender studies and Black studies posted a joint statement on their websites to assure Palestinian and Muslim students that they were valued and that faculty members were concerned for their welfare. I share that concern, deeply.

Glaringly absent from the statement was concern for Jewish and Israeli students. The faculty claimed to “mourn the loss of life in southern Israel” but went on to “denounce the ongoing escalation of settler colonial violence.” The statement ends in solidarity with those “targeted by colonialism, racism, heteropatriarchy, ableism and state-sanctioned violence” with no mention of antisemitism, the terrorist killings or the hostages. The global Asian studies program posted a similar statement, but only a short statement of concern for Arab, Palestinian and Muslim communities remains at this point.

Even worse, several student support centers, including the Disability Resource Center and the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center, put out a statement of solidarity with the Palestinians. While concern for students who are worried about loved ones in Palestine is important and necessary, why are Jewish and Israeli students rendered invisible? Are Jews of no concern to those at the centers designed to support student success?

Even when the United Nations provided evidence of sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attack, the Women’s Resource and Leadership Center remained silent on Israeli women’s suffering. In a Zoom meeting with some Jewish students, I learned that some no longer feel free to use the state-supported resources available at these centers because the political rhetoric makes them unwelcome. This feeling of being “othered,” of not  belonging at UIC, runs counter to our mission of inclusivity.

Risman concluded, “I will retire before I intended to because UIC is no longer an institution comfortable for me, as a Jew who believes Israel has a right to exist. And to be clear, more than 80% of Jews in America share that belief. When university departments and programs publish statements implying support for the destruction of the state where more than half of all Jews alive today live, they have crossed the line from simple micro-aggressions against Jewish students and faculty to outright institutional antisemitism.”

Risman also told the Times of Israel that, although she is a lone voice speaking publically, she has recevied secret thank yous.

“I expected to get a lot of personal blowback from my colleagues. Instead, what I got was a lot of secret thank-yous from all over campus from students, faculty, staff, administrators. I now know more Jews on campus than I ever did in the past 17 years.”

“They all said, ‘You are really brave. I would never have done that.’ People now contact me when something happens because I’m the only one who has said anything publicly.”

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