An Illinois university is investigating and a faculty member was removed from a course after an assignment given to students featured questions on whether the Holocaust actually happened.
A marketing student at National Louis University said he was given an assignment on double negatives. The paperwork featured the questions “Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?”
The assignment then demonstrated a suggested correction, changing the phrasing to, “Do you doubt that the Holocaust actually happened or not?”
The student alerted a Jewish group on campus and the assignment was later posted to social media, where it garnered hundreds of responses.
“National Louis University is committed to achieving a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where every individual is heard, respected, valued and welcomed,” the university said in a statement.
“Every day, we strive to create a community where everyone is empowered to live their full authentic selves. We are taking this incident seriously. We do not tolerate discrimination in any form and have a no retaliation policy for individuals who file claims of discrimination. We are currently investigating and will determine the appropriate course of action once our investigation is complete.”
The school said the faculty member involved was removed from the course for the remainder of the term and the instructor apologized to the students enrolled.
"We believe in the importance of not becoming complacent about these issues and that we must remain – especially now – vigilant to any form of discrimination,” the statement read. “We are exploring opportunities for further faculty development, and in the first quarter of 2020, we will begin establishing additional sensitivity training for all university faculty and staff.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s regional director David Goldenberg applauded the university for investigating the matter.
“Assignments inappropriately employing Holocaust analogies or examples undermine the academic purpose of the assignment and trivialize the traumatic history of the Holocaust,” Goldenberg said in a statement. “Educators must think carefully about the content and questions used for assignments and the possible impact on historically targeted communities.”
Officials at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie said it was a poor assignment but also applauded the university’s steps to educate professors and others in wake of the incident.