UBC prof resigns, claiming university has failed to address hate speech, intimidation

An associate professor of medicine at UBC has resigned, claiming the university has failed to meaningfully address antisemitism and what he feels is an unsafe work environment.

Dr. Ted Rosenberg says he felt he had no choice but to step down after he repeatedly tried to bring up concerns and claims about tensions, hate speech, and intimidation within the faculty surrounding the Israel-Hamas war.

The Jewish physician and a group of other doctors — Jewish and non-Jewish — first approached university administration in November as a Gaza ceasefire petition was making the rounds.

Rosenberg claims it went beyond calls for peace, condemning Israel but containing inaccuracies and causing deep divisions within the medical student community and leading to a toxic, even unsafe environment.

In a letter being shared on social media, he says the university has failed to meaningfully address the serious threat of antisemitism and the dangers of polarization among faculty and staff.

While he says he laments the deaths of innocent civilians on both sides, he feels “over simplistic ahistorical demonizing narratives and rhetoric, by either side, will do nothing to deepen our understanding, empathy, respect, or trust of one another, nor hasten a resolution of this crisis.”

In a statement to CityNews, a spokesperson for UBC writes, “The Faculty of Medicine and the University of British Columbia have been very clear that antisemitism, or discrimination of any kind, is completely unacceptable. We are committed to creating a safe and respectful environment for all of our community members and will continue to take steps to do so.”

“President Bacon strongly emphasized the values of respect, compassion and inclusivity in a message to the university community on November 6th, including the importance of following UBC’s policies and procedures in dealing with matters that deviate from those values. The Faculty of Medicine also recently reinforced this message with its community on December 19th,” the statement continued.

“UBC’s Discrimination Policy (SC7) governs our approach to discrimination of all kinds, including discrimination on the basis of religion, race or place of origin. As set out in sections 2.1 and 2.2 of that Policy, discrimination is interpreted in the same manner as interpreted by British Columbia’s Human Rights Code.”

The spokesperson also asserts the university is “working expediently to develop educational opportunities for inclusive learning and respectful dialogue within the faculty in areas that directly reflect our stated values, including how we address issues such as discrimination, harassment and hate speech.”

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