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Langara employee no longer on the job after 'activities contrary to the expectations' of the college

Langara College says an employee is no longer working there due to 'activities contrary to the expectations laid out by the college' following remarks the school condemned. The college has left many questions unanswered in announcing the employee's departure.  (Google Streetview - image credit)
Langara College says an employee is no longer working there due to 'activities contrary to the expectations laid out by the college' following remarks the school condemned. The college has left many questions unanswered in announcing the employee's departure. (Google Streetview - image credit)

A statement from Langara College says an employee who in October made "remarks at an off-campus event that did not and do not reflect the values of the College" no longer works there.

It says their employment ultimately ended as a result of more recent "activities contrary to the expectations laid out by the college," following those October remarks.

The details in the college statement strongly suggested that instructor Natalie Knight — who described the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel as "amazing, brilliant" — is the employee being referred to.

In an emailed Jan. 26 statement, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said the Vancouver Jewish community "applauds the dismissal" of the Langara instructor.

"We are encouraged by Langara College's decision to dismiss Natalie Knight. Accountability matters, and this is a step that will help restore trust between the college and its Jewish and Israeli students, staff, and faculty," Nico Slobinsky, vice-president Pacific region, said in the statement.

Natalie Knight, center, holding microphone, is facing criticism and calls to be fired from her academic job after a speech she gave at a pro-Palestinian rally in late October. Knight is defending her comments as legitimate speech in the face of Israeli actions against Palestinians.
Natalie Knight, center, holding microphone, is facing criticism and calls to be fired from her academic job after a speech she gave at a pro-Palestinian rally in late October. Knight is defending her comments as legitimate speech in the face of Israeli actions against Palestinians.

Natalie Knight, pictured centre holding microphone, faced criticism and calls to be fired from her academic job after a speech she gave at a pro-Palestinian rally in late October. Knight defended her comments as legitimate speech in the face of Israeli actions against Palestinians. (United in Struggle)

Langara declined to offer CBC News any further information or confirmation that Knight is indeed the former employee. It also would not say if the employee was fired or left under other circumstances.

The college's statement says the employee made comments in October condemned by the college that led to an internal investigation.

On Oct. 28, Knight gave a speech at a pro-Palestinian event at the Vancouver Art Gallery which included praise of the Oct. 7 attack which kickstarted renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas and led to calls from some Jewish groups for her firing.

The internal investigation ended, Langara said, with the employee being allowed to return to work with "the expectation they would comply with the college's policies and initiatives which support a safe, respectful, and inclusive learning and working environment."

"Further, they were expected to take care to ensure any future remarks could not reasonably be interpreted as celebrating violence against civilians," the statement said, adding, "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."

The statement does not clarify what those contravening activities are alleged to have been but the statement also expressed concern about "events which unfolded at a rally on Langara campus this week."

The Langara Voice student newspaper reported Knight spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally near the campus Tuesday. She claimed she had been reinstated and would soon be returning to work.

CBC News has not confirmed this reporting independently.

College commits to supports, programming to 'heal'

About 1,200 people, including civilians and security forces, were killed during the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel led by Hamas militants, according to the Israeli government.

Israel declared war on Hamas in response.

The health ministry in Gaza says more than 25,000 people in the territory have been killed since.

Langara's Friday statement went on to condemn acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

"We are focused on supporting those in our community who are living with immense pain over the continuing violence and tragic loss of life in the Middle East," it said.

The college says it will be reaching out to the community and is committed to programming and supports that creates "an environment that will allow us to learn, grow, and begin to heal."

CBC has reached out to Knight, the group United in Struggle which has previously issued statements on Knight's behalf, and the Langara Faculty Association for comment. None have responded.