NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some design students are protesting a world-renowned fashion designer from teaching on their campus.
They say the anti-Semitic comments made by John Galliano should ban him from the classroom.
But school administrators think otherwise, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported Friday.
“I love Hitler. Your forefathers would be [expletive] gassed, and [expletive] dead,” Galliano said during the now-infamous rant.
But the disgraced ex-head of the Christian Dior brand will soon be on a payroll – right here in New York City.
Parsons The New School for Design hired him to teach student workshop, setting off a firestorm among Jewish students on campus.
“More than just my heritage, it’s disrespectful to Parsons and what we represent,” student Matt Weiss said.
On Tuesday, the school’s Jewish student union started an online petition that as of Friday evening had more than 475 signatures. The petition accuses the university of valuing Galliano over them.
“This is obviously not allowing Jews to take the class at The New School. No one wants to take a class with a well-known anti-Semite,” student union president Jennifer Kaplan said.
Kaplan said the move conflicts with one of the original missions of the university — serving as a safe haven for Jewish intellectuals.
“It’s totally against what The New School in exile stood for,” Kaplan said.
And while there is clear opposition to Galliano teaching on campus, there’s also sizeable support behind the university’s decision.
“He’s just going to be a valuable asset to the faculty for all the fashion students,” student Keren Hasson said.
“John Galliano apologized for what he says. He reached out. He repaired. He’s been studying and I live in a world where my Jewish values teach me to forgive,” said Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.
On Friday, the dean of Parsons emailed students a letter that reads in part: “I believe our students can learn from Mr. Galliano’s successes as well as his failures. … Having Mr. Galliano on our campus will be difficult. But what is difficult is often right.”
“I don’t support it. I don’t support him working for this school,” Weiss said.
For many students, hiring Galliano no level of design or teaching can justify.
The design course taught by Galliano will be a three-day workshop, open to seniors in their Bachelor of Fine Arts Program.
The workshop is scheduled for next semester.
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