Columbia College Chicago changes its mind: Iymen Chehade’s class will remain intact
Columbia College Chicago (CCC) has reversed its decision to remove one of Professor Iymen Chehade’s sections of his “The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict” course.
For the second time, the college caused controversy last year by attempting to cut Chehade’s class from being offered twice a week to only once for the Spring 2016 semester.
The controversy traces back to a complaint from a student in the Fall 2014 semester, who claimed that Chehade’s screening of the widely renowned documentary “Five Broken Cameras” was biased. A week later, the university notified Chehade that his class would only be offered once the following semester due to enrollment and scheduling issues, despite the large number of students who opted for the class each semester, as well as Chehade’s glowing reviews. The class was reinstated after involvement from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), but that did not stopped CCC from canceling Chehade’s class again this year.
Accusations of the university denying Chehade academic freedom have been circulating as they did last year. CCC is alleged to have targeted Chehade in an attempt to silence the Palestinian narrative. Chehade believes this.
“In addition to trying to physically erase Palestinians from Palestine, there is also the component of the destruction of the Palestinian narrative by intellectually detaching their history from them, erasing this history, and then dehumanizing Palestinians in order to justify the atrocities committed against them. This is done through both the media and academia and it is currently very prevalent in America,” Chehade said.
Chehade, however, is not discouraged. He is confident that his course reverses this effect.
“The course I teach fights this component by reattaching the historic presence of Palestinians to their land with the actual narrative rather than the propagandistic one. The course also humanizes Palestinians. That’s why the course got canceled. Yet, that’s also why it’s so important that this course be protected by the community that seeks freedom and justice for Palestinians. We need to protect the class and we need more like it in order to mainstream the Palestinian narrative.”