Smith College’s president is saying that attacks on faculty members will not be tolerated after flyers showed up on campus accusing a professor of spreading racist propaganda related to the Israel-Hamas war.
The flyers, obtained independently by MassLive, were placed on walls and under the doors of offices in academic building Seelye Hall, according to an email written by Smith College’s president Sarah Willie-LeBreton, provost and dean of faculty Michael Thurston and interim dean of the college and vice president for campus life Alex Keller.
“We write now to state that attacking a member of our community is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the email said.
The email said the distribution of the flyers violates the college’s policy against harassment and also breaks the “compact under which this community, dedicated to rigorous scholarship and to teaching and learning, operates.”
The flyers targeted Jewish Studies professor Joel Kaminsky, and included his faculty photograph and his social media handle next to quotes regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Kaminsky didn’t respond immediately to requests for comment.
Smith College is pointing those with any information about those involved with the flyers to communicate with campus safety as the college begins an investigation.
A Smith College spokesperson declined to provide further comment.
“It is more important than ever, in times of tension and heartache, that we commit to our shared expectations of kindness and civil discourse,” Willie-LeBreton’s email said.
Smith College isn’t the only institution that has been facing controversies related to the Israel-Hamas war.
Fifty-seven people were arrested for trespassing during a sit-in at an administrative building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The protesters vowed to not leave the building until the university met its demands: That the university cut any ties with companies that manufacture weapons, like Raytheon, and to “condemn the Israeli massacre of Palestinians and condemn the blockade on Gaza.”
Other higher-education institutions have made national headlines, including dozens of Harvard student groups who released a joint statement weeks ago blaming Israel for Hamas attacks.
“We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” the student groups wrote. “Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum.”
The letter faced backlash from leaders across the state. Former Harvard president Larry Summers was one among several individuals who took to social media, stating he had never been as “disillusioned and alienated” from his nearly 50-year Harvard affiliation, pointing to the “silence” of Harvard leadership.