A University of Texas at Arlington professor has resigned after facing pushback from students and faculty over his description of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Morgan Marietta, the then-chair of the university’s political science department, organized an event so students could ask Middle East studies scholar Brent Sasley about the ongoing war and its historical roots.
However, when Marietta opened the Q&A event on October 18, some in attendance took issue with Marietta calling Hamas a “terrorist group” and referring to the organization’s actions on October 7 as “pure evil,” according to videos obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Hamas launched a terrorist attack on southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals and abducting roughly 200 of them, transporting them back to the Gaza Strip. Israel has since retaliated by instituting an aerial bombing campaign and ground operations within the Hamas-controlled territory.
Some students voiced complaints during the campus event, claiming Sasley and Marietta were Zionists.
“I’ve never been swore out by students before. … Even stating facts is being characterized as taking an ideological position,” Marietta told DMN.
A group of students can reportedly be seen in the video yelling “get out” at a student who clapped in support of Marietta’s comments.
“I want to know why people only care when Israelis are killed,” another student yelled, per DMN.
Marietta said the university canceled another event he was set to host on the Supreme Court two days after the Israel-Hamas war event. His superiors allegedly told him he must get prior approval before hosting events. Such approval requires a “written management plan, including risk assessment, risk mitigation plan, and a copy of any comments you plan to give by way of introduction of the event,” according to a letter Marietta received from Elizabeth Newman, the dean of UTA’s College of Liberal Arts.
Marietta objected to the requirement, offering his resignation as department chair and claiming the university was violating his academic freedom.
Joe Carpenter, a spokesman for UTA, claimed that “no content or topic restrictions were implemented.”
“Some events may generate passionate debate and divergent viewpoints,” Carpenter said, per DMN. “UTA supports events that facilitate free-flowing exchanges of ideas and also wants to ensure it properly plans for them.”