MONTREAL — Université de Montréal has suspended one of its lecturers after he was filmed appearing to hurl insults during a confrontation linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
A university spokesperson said a course taught by Yanise Arab was cancelled Thursday as a preventive measure. On Friday afternoon, the school confirmed that Arab had been suspended.
"The lecturer received this morning a notice of suspension with pay for the duration of the investigation," spokeswoman Geneviève O'Meara said in an interview.
She said the school was evaluating whether the class he taught would continue with another instructor for the rest of the session or not take place.
In a brief video circulating online, a man in a yellow hoodie, later identified as Arab, can be seen yelling "go back to Poland!" followed by another insult during an altercation between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups at Montreal's Concordia University.
Arab's biography has been removed from Université de Montréal's website, but a previous version described him as a PhD student and lecturer in the history department who teaches a class on domination and resistance in the Arab world.
He was listed as an expert on the Middle East and the author of three publications on Palestine.
He could not immediately be reached for comment.
O'Meara said the school's information suggests that Arab is the person in the video. She said he will meet with university management as part of the investigation. She could not confirm the status of his PhD candidature.
Three people were injured and one person was arrested at Concordia on Wednesday during the altercation.
O'Meara said Université de Montréal has also decided to increase its security on campus, although it hasn't had any violent incidents. "We feel the climate has been more tense in recent days, so we want everyone to feel safe," she said. Eta Yudin, Quebec vice-president for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Arab should be fired for his actions. "This behaviour is unacceptable for someone entrusted with educating the next generation," she said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.
Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press