DePaul University fires biology professor after assignment related to war between Israel and Hamas

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CHICAGO (AP) — DePaul University said it has fired a part-time biology instructor after she gave an optional assignment related to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Anne d’Aquino told students in May that they could write about the impact of “genocide in Gaza on human health and biology.” The theme of the spring class at the Chicago school was how microorganisms cause disease.

DePaul said some students “expressed significant concerns” about politics in a science class.

“We investigated the matter, spoke with the faculty member and found that it had negatively impacted the learning environment by introducing extraneous political material that was outside the scope of the academic subject matter as described in the curriculum,” DePaul said in a statement Friday .

The school noted an email ordering it to show support for people who “oppose the normalization of ethnic cleansing.”

“The class had a new instructor and the faculty member has been relieved of his appointment as a part-time faculty member,” DePaul said.

D’Aquino is appealing her dismissal.

About 50 people protested in support of her last Thursday, waving Palestinian flags, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

“My dismissal was a violation of my academic freedom and another example of this administration’s efforts to distort discussions about Palestine and the language of Palestinian liberation into false claims of anti-Semitism,” d’Aquino said at the rally.

She said the assignment was relevant, noting that scientists have warned of the spread of diseases in Gaza due to malnutrition and a lack of water and adequate sanitation.

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