Board of Trustees Statement on Assistant Professor Joy Karega

November 15, 2016
Communications Staff
Closeup of stone arch and columns
The Cox Administration Building, designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert. Photo credit: Greg Pendolino

The Oberlin College Board of Trustees, after extensive consideration and a comprehensive review of recommendations from multiple faculty committees and Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, has voted to dismiss Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy D. Karega for failing to meet the academic standards that Oberlin requires of its faculty and failing to demonstrate intellectual honesty.

The dismissal is effective Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

As a Board, we agree with President Krislov and every faculty committee reviewing this matter that the central issues are Dr. Karega’s professional integrity and fitness. We affirm Oberlin’s historic and ongoing commitment to academic freedom.

During this process, which began with Dr. Karega’s posting of anti-Semitic writings on social media, Dr. Karega received numerous procedural protections: she was represented by counsel; she presented witness testimony, documents, and statements to support her position; and she had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses testifying against her.

The faculty review process examined whether Dr. Karega had violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members – namely, adherence to the “Statement of Professional Ethics” of the American Association of University Professors, which requires faculty members to “accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge” and to “practice intellectual honesty.”

Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship. She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process.

For these reasons, the faculty review committees and President Krislov agreed on the seriousness of Dr. Karega’s misconduct. Indeed, the majority of the General Faculty Council, the executive body of Oberlin’s faculty, concluded that Dr. Karega’s postings could not be justified as part of her scholarship and had “irreparably impaired (her) ability to perform her duties as a scholar, a teacher, and a member of the community.”

In the face of Dr. Karega’s repeated refusal to acknowledge and remedy her misconduct, her continued presence undermines the mission and values of Oberlin’s academic community. Thus, any sanction short of dismissal is insufficient and the Board of Trustees is compelled to take this most serious action.

You may also like…

Entry door to building framed by tree and flowers

Oberlin College Reaffirms its Commitment to Accessibility with New Scholarship

September 25, 2020
To help families address the increasing cost of higher education, Oberlin College will award a $10,000 Oberlin Commitment Scholarship to all new students who apply and enroll in fall 2021. The scholarship will be renewable for up to four years for students pursuing degrees in either the College of Arts and Sciences or the Conservatory of Music, and up to five years for students who are pursuing a double degree.
Building entryway with steps and tree.

Oberlin College Establishes Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity in Response to National Distress

August 28, 2020
President Carmen Twillie Ambar and Oberlin College announced today the launch of the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity in response to increasing injustice and racial tensions in America. The Presidential Initiative will elevate and advance Oberlin’s more than 180-year commitment to the education and rights of Blacks in America, and will provide the framework for faculty and students to address issues of violence, police-community relationships, and racial injustices.
Stone building facade.

Oberlin College Moves to Test-Optional Model for 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle

April 17, 2020
In light of the unprecedented effects the current pandemic is having on high school students around the world, Oberlin College is moving to a test-optional model for the next three years starting with the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, and continuing as a pilot program through the 2022-2023 application year.