‘Violated Academic Freedom’ – US Professor Fired for Impact of Gaza Genocide Assignment

DePaul University in Chicago has dismissed Professor Anne d’Aquino for assigning her students to explore the impact of “genocide in Gaza” on human health. (Photo: via Palestine Daily News)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

An appeals board has since unanimously decided that firing Dr Anne D’Aquino, De Paul University in Illinois “violated her academic freedom.”

An American university has fired an adjunct professor for offering an optional assignment to her students on the biological and health impacts on Palestinians of Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza, according to a CBS news report.

An appeals board has since unanimously decided that firing Dr Anne D’Aquino, De Paul University in Illinois “violated her academic freedom.”

The CBS report said that in early May, D’Aquino was teaching Health 194, Human Pathogens and Defense, with the syllabus for the class stating that “it explores microbiology research and its relevance to everyday life and current events, as well as microbiology knowledge to ‘big picture impacts on individuals and communities’.”

D’Aquino issued an optional assignment that asked students to focus on the biological effects of the war on Gaza, the news outlet said.

Her intention was for students to understand “the impacts of genocide on human biology.”

D’Aquino “chose her words referring to a report from the UN Human Rights Council in March, which found ‘reasonable grounds’ that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza,” said CBS.

She was fired two days after issuing the assignment.

Course Material

In her termination letter, DePaul Health Sciences Department Chair Dr Sarah Connolly reportedly wrote “Students expressed significant concern about the introduction of political matters into the class. This has negatively impacted the learning environment. Our faculty handbook states that faculty are obligated to avoid significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course.”

D’Aquino disagreed with the assessment, saying “The assignment was, in fact, related to the course and its objectives.”

“For months, scientists and physicians have been warning about the spread of infectious disease in Gaza – due to starvation, malnutrition, overcrowding, destruction of critical water and sanitation infrastructure,” she reportedly said.

Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza – Palestinian Child Starves to Death in Deir Al-Balah

Students have demanded that D’Aquino be reinstated, delivering a petition with almost 1,500 signatures supporting the call.

CBS said a letter from the American Association of University Professors to DePaul University President Dr. Robert L. Manuel said the university must demonstrate “adequate cause” before dismissal. The association believes that was not done in D’Aquino’s case.

Staggering Death Toll

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,164 Palestinians have been killed, and 84,832 wounded. Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Gaza’s Agony – Death Toll Rises Amid Severe Humanitarian Crisis

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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