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Langara College instructor who praised Hamas attack has been dismissed

Subsequent actions led to firing, college says

VANCOUVER — A Langara College instructor who praised the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas is no longer an employee at the Vancouver college.

But Natalie Knight, an English instructor and Indigenous curriculum consultant, was apparently not dismissed for her controversial statement about the Hamas attack, which killed about 1,200 people and took 240 people hostage, but for her conduct at a rally this week.

Knight went on leave after referring to the attack as an “amazing, brilliant offensive” during a pro-Palestinian rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in October.

She was reinstated after an investigation by Langara found her comments “were not clearly outside the bounds of protected expression.”

On Friday, Langara announced Knight was no longer with the college.

In a letter to students, faculty and staff, Langara said Knight was allowed to return to work with the expectation she would comply with the college’s policies and would “take care to ensure any future remarks could not reasonably be interpreted as celebrating violence against civilians.”

“The employee proceeded to engage in activities contrary to the expectations laid out by the College and as a result this employee is no longer an employee of Langara College,” it said.

The letter did not name Knight. It did not provide details on what comments or activities Knight made that triggered her dismissal, saying only that the school was concerned about events at a rally on the Langara campus this week.

According to the student paper Langara Voice, Knight told a crowd at a rally on campus Tuesday that she had been reinstated as an instructor without any disciplinary action: “It means we won. It means I did nothing wrong. It means none of you are doing anything wrong.”

Knight told the Voice she would return to work “very soon.”

Jewish groups had raised concerns about Knight’s initial comments and at news of her return to Langara.

On Friday, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said Knight’s comments caused immense trauma to the college’s Jewish and Israeli community.

“She demonstrably failed in her obligation as an instructor to create a safe environment for all students,” said Nico Slobinsky.

“By dismissing Knight, Langara College has acted to ensure the safety of its Jewish and Israeli community and taken a stand against antisemitism and the glorification of terrorism.”

Langara College said everyone deserves to feel safe in its campus community. “Our aim is to provide an environment where differing views can be held and expressed in a way that promotes human dignity for all and protects the safety of our students and staff.”

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