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Statement regarding Steven Thrasher by president, provost

“Steven Thrasher will join the faculty at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications on June 1. His professorship will focus on issues related to social justice, with an emphasis on topics relevant to the LGBTQ community.

Many were understandably offended by some of the comments made by Dr. Thrasher during his commencement speech at New York University earlier this week. We do not share all of his views, nor do we feel commencement was the appropriate venue to express them. However, academic freedom assures his right to hold them.

While Dr. Thrasher will not be the first Northwestern faculty member who supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, Northwestern as an institution unequivocally rejects BDS. To the contrary, we value our many relationships with a variety of universities and research centers in Israel.  

As always, Northwestern remains firmly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our goal as an institution is to work toward constructive engagement within the context of freedom of academic inquiry and expression. We expect all members of our community to promote these values in an environment free of coercion and intimidation.” 

Morton Schapiro, President and Professor of Economics
Jonathan Holloway, Provost and Professor of History and African American Studies

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