Steven Thrasher

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Stephen William Thrasher is an American writer and editor who was hired as a faculty member by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2019. [1] His journalism has appeared in The Village Voice , [2] The Guardian , [3] and The New York Times . [4] He is a Contributing Editor for BuzzFeed . [5] He was the recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Journalist of the Year award 2012, [3] [6] [7] [8] [9] and the Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism 2015. [10]


NYU graduation controversy

During a speech at a convocation ceremony for NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Thrasher sparked controversy by advocating for a boycott of Israel. [11] According to NYU president Andrew Hamilton, Thrasher had omitted his contentious comments from the version of the speech submitted for review, and stated that "NYU rejects academic boycotts of Israel, rejects calls to close its Tel Aviv campus, and denounces efforts to ostracize or exclude those in the University community based on their location in Israel, their Israeli origin, or their political feelings for Israel." [11] [12] Upon learning that Thrasher had a history of posting antisemitic statements on Twitter, President Hamilton said, "We were shocked when we were made aware of these undoubtedly vile and anti-Semitic tweets. Steven Thrasher should never have been a speaker for the doctoral convocation." [13] NYU Dean Phillip Harper agreed calling Thrasher's tweets “breathtakingly wrongheaded. Had we known of these posts earlier, Steven Thrasher would not have been a speaker at our Convocation ceremony.” [14]

In her book How to Fight Anti-Semitism , New York Times writer Bari Weiss wrote that scholar Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, said of Thrasher's selection: "Thrasher demonstrates that, when soil conditions are right, poisonous weeds can grow in our best universities, on our own very watch. I dread the thought that a racist deformity of such toxicity will be given a podium and clone students at Northwestern University. The public trusts us, educators, with the soil conditions; are we worthy of the trust?" [15] Pearl, chancellor professor of computer sciences at UCLA and member of the National Academy of Sciences, renounced his NYU 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. [16]

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Provost Jonathan Holloway criticized Thrasher's choice to express unscripted, controversial views at the ceremony, but also said that he will still be joining their university faculty. Schapiro and Holloway also made it clear that Northwestern rejects the call to boycott Israel. [17]

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  1. Marcy Oster (May 23, 2019). "NYU speaker praises campus groups that support BDS". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  2. "Steven Thrasher". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Steven W Thrasher". The Guardian . October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  4. Steven W. Thrasher (April 8, 2009). "Iowa's Family Values". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  5. "Steven Thrasher (steventhrasher) on BuzzFeed". Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  6. "NLGJA Awards Recognize Steven W. Thrasher, Chris Geidner, Anderson Cooper and More". July 10, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  7. Bach Polakowski. "Steven W. Thrasher NLGJA Journalist of the Year". NLGJA. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  8. Wes Young. "Steven W. Thrasher - 2012 Winner". NLGJA. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  9. "Journalist of the Year Archives". NLGJA. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  10. Bach Polakowski. "Recognizes 2015 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners". NLGJA. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  12. Aaron Bandler (May 23, 2019). "NYU President Calls BDS-Supporting Graduation Speech 'Quite Objectionable'". Jewish Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  13. Bandler. "NYU President ‘Shocked’ At Grad Speaker’s Anti-Semitic Tweets." Jewish Journal. 24 May 2019. 24 May 2019.
    "New York University (NYU) President Andrew Hamilton told the Journal that he was 'shocked at NYU Doctoral Graduate and soon-to-be Northwestern University Professor Steven Thrasher’s recently unearthed anti-Semitic tweets and that Thrasher shouldn’t have spoken at the May 20 Graduate School of Art and Sciences (GSAS) convocation ceremony.'"
  14. Gerstmann, Evan. "Why The President Of NYU Was Right To Condemn A Pro-BDS Graduation Address." Forbes. 31 May 2019. 31 May 2019.
  15. Weiss, Bari (2019). How to Fight Anti-Semitism (First ed.). New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN   9780593136058.
  16. Bandler, Aaron. "NYU President 'Shocked' At Grad Speaker's Anti-Semitic Tweets". Jewish Journal. Tribe Media Corp. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  17. Bandler. "NYU Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ‘Disappointed’ in Grad Speaker’s Remarks." Jewish Journal. 24 May 2019. 24 May 2019.