Oberlin College in Ohio has suspended Mohammad Jafer Mahallati, a tenured professor known for his advocacy of the elimination of Israel and support for Hamas. The suspension comes in the wake of allegations that Mahallati, an Iranian citizen, ran a sex-for-grades scheme during his tenure at Columbia University.
Mahallati, 71, discreetly placed on indefinite administrative leave since November 28, faced mounting criticism after it was revealed that he had been accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s. Court papers from that period indicate that Mahallati allegedly offered favorable grades in exchange for sexual favors from a graduate student, who later sued him and Columbia University.
The suspension follows a federal Department of Education investigation into Oberlin College after a complaint was filed, accusing the institution of allowing Mahallati to endorse Hamas and credit students for writing anti-Israel content. The probe, initiated on September 29, was prompted by a complaint from Melissa Landa, an Oberlin graduate and president of the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness.
Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania also faced criticism recently for their response to student inquiries about the genocide of Jews, drawing demands for resignations from a prominent donor.
Oberlin College, in a statement, expressed its commitment to taking all allegations of sexual harassment seriously and emphasized its dedication to a safe academic environment. The college is cooperating with the federal investigation, which is part of a broader examination into anti-Semitism on the Oberlin campus.
Mahallati, a former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, has taught at other prestigious institutions, including Georgetown and Princeton. Beyond the recent allegations, a group of Iranian anti-regime activists has accused him of covering up human rights abuses and promoting antisemitic rhetoric.
As the investigation unfolds, Oberlin College faces scrutiny for its handling of Mahallati's alleged misconduct and the broader issue of addressing antisemitism on campus.