(photo credit: REUTERS)
(Tribune News Service) - A Stanford student has stepped down from his position as a resident assistant amid blowback from a controversial Facebook post.
Knesset passes controversial Jewish nation-state bill into law, July 19, 2018 (Reuters)
The announcement comes weeks after the incident that sparked the controversy. Rising junior Hamzeh Daoud, who identified himself as a “third-generation Palestinian refugee” in a Stanford Daily post published Friday, was upset after Israel passed a controversial bill in mid-July defining itself as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
“I'm gonna physically fight zionists on campus next year if someone comes at me with their ‘Israel is a democracy’ bullshit,” Daoud wrote in what he later described as an “emotion-filled” moment.
Just a few hours later, Daoud edited the post to say he would “intellectually fight Zionists” and said he never meant to imply he intended to physically harm anyone.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart to everyone who was triggered by it. I recognize that I was projecting my own trauma onto others in a way that is never acceptable,” he wrote in the Daily.
But the fallout from his original post had already begun to snowball across campus and beyond.
“Mr. Daoud’s statements reveal him to be a danger to the safety of students on Stanford’s campus, and such an individual should never be put in any position of authority over other students, particularly in a dormitory that includes freshmen,” the Stanford College Republicans wrote in a Facebook post accompanying a screenshot of Daoud’s profile.
For days, Stanford remained silent on the issue. But on Friday, just several weeks before the start of the new school year, the university posted a statement saying that not only had the post sparked outrage, but it had generated additional threats against Daoud.
“The effects of the original post have continued rippling through our campus community and beyond,” the university said. “There have been many expressions of concern for the safety of Jewish students at Stanford. There also have been expressions of concern at the social media campaigns, including death threats, which have been targeting the author of the post, along with concern for the well-being of other communities as they return to campus this fall.”
In an unusual move, the school revealed that it had conducted its own assessment of whether Daoud posed a threat to others on campus and concluded he does not.
“His consent allows us to share this information, which is normally private, for the benefit of the community,” the school said.
Daoud, the school confirmed, will be stepping down from the RA post he had planned to hold this coming school year. In his Daily piece, Daoud said he would also be entering “trauma-based therapy” to help him regulate his emotions “when triggered.”
Stanford, too, promised to continue to address the issue with students on campus.
“We are a learning community, and just as the author of the post has told us he intends to do, we must all work together to learn from it,” the school said in its statement. “We will be meeting with students on all sides of the issue to hear ideas for additional steps that can be taken to assure their feeling of safety and comfort in our community.”
©2018 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.