Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Suzanne Cordeiro / Getty
The University of Texas at Austin recently removed two graduate teaching assistants from their positions for sending their students a message addressing a perceived lack of support for Palestinian students on campus. The decision is the latest instance, among many in recent months, of university administrations intervening in campus discussions on Israel-Palestine.
Callie Kennedy and Parham Daghighi, graduate students in the school of social work who led discussion sections for the course, “Women and Madness,” decided to craft the message in response to a student’s request. Kennedy told The Daily Beast that an undergraduate “asked for our class to address the mental health needs of Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab students” in light of the university’s apparent failure “to meaningfully acknowledge the needs of the student community.”
The student was articulating a sense of disappointment with the university shared by other Arab and Muslim students, particularly as tensions have escalated at UT Austin—and schools across the country—following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and Israel’s ensuing military actions in Gaza.