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B.C. college instructor on leave amid Hamas comment controversy

B.C. Premier David Eby says holocaust education will be mandatory for high school students. He made the promise earlier Monday night while speaking to Vancouver's Jewish community. But now there are questions about whether it should also be mandated for B.C's post-secondary instructors. Kristen Robinson reports. – Oct 31, 2023

Langara College in Vancouver says one of its instructors is on leave in the wake of comments she made at a recent pro-Palestine protest.

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At the Sunday demonstration outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, Natalie Knight said Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack as “amazing” and “brilliant.”

On its website, Langara lists Knight as a part of its English department.

In a statement Tuesday, the school confirmed Knight was on leave.

“We are aware that a Langara employee shared their personal views during a public event in Vancouver, which has been shared on social media and addressed through news reports. These views do not represent those of the College and while the matter is under investigation, the employee is currently on leave,” the statement reads.

“We ask for your patience and understanding as we follow this confidential process. However, we are conscious that this has greatly impacted our community.”

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The move came a day after Premier David Eby pledged to make education on the Holocaust mandatory for high schools students.

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Eby made the announcement while meeting with Greater Vancouver’s Jewish community Monday evening.

Holocaust education will be taught in Grade 10, beginning in the 2025-26 school year.

He cited recent acts of antisemitism in the wake of attacks in Israel and Gaza.

Added Education Minister Selina Robinson: “I was horrified that any human being would somehow think that there was glory in what we witnessed, what Hamas perpetrated against people, against babies, old people, young people dancing in the desert.”

Ezra Shanken, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said Knight’s comments were “abhorrent.”

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“I actually think it might be beneficial for them to do some learning around the Holocaust now more than ever.”

Knight holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University, where she was awarded the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal.

In a statement of its own, SFU said: “Acts of hate, violence and discrimination, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, are not acceptable. SFU does not agree with nor support the comments made in any way.”

The school added that the award was given as a reflection of academic performance, and that “beyond being a graduate of SFU, this person has no current affiliation with the university.”


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