The University of Southern California required a professor to teach all of his classes remotely in fall 2023 for expressing his views about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. He remains under investigation by USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX.
On November 9, professor John Strauss said to students participating in a pro-Palestinian protest, “You people are ignorant. Really ignorant. Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.”
While some may find this expression offensive, it is entirely protected by the university’s own commitments. USC’s faculty handbook states, “When [faculty members] speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.” Since USC is legally and morally bound to uphold its promises to its faculty, USC may not investigate or punish Strauss for his speech.
Join FIRE in urging USC to immediately cease its investigation of Strauss and to confirm that it will not pursue disciplinary sanctions against him.