Petition seeks reinstatement of suspended COLLEGE lecturer

Jan. 12, 2024, 1:49 a.m.

A petition circulated by students demands the reinstatement of COLLEGE 101 lecturer Ameer Loggins, who was suspended after reports of identity-based targeting last fall.

Stanford opened an investigation following reports that Loggins targeted Jewish students based on their identity during two Oct. 10 class sections, following the Hamas attack on Israel three days prior. University president Richard Saller said at a Graduate Student Council (GSC) meeting last December that Stanford has hired external counsel for the investigation.

Over 1,700 people have signed the petition as of Jan. 10, according to Jaeden Clark ’26, one of the students leading the effort. Clark said he was not formally one of Loggins’s students but has previously sat in on his lectures. Loggins did not respond to a request for comment.

A press release from the petitioners states that Loggins’s suspension was precipitated by misrepresentations of the incident, and the petition itself states that several news stories contain “dangerous misinformation.” The incident was covered by The Daily, The San Francisco Chronicle and CNN and discussed in a New York Times opinion piece.

The Daily obtained a roster of one of the sections in which the incidents occurred and reached out to the 17 students listed, but was unable to get comments from any.

Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez wrote in an Oct. 11 statement that the University had received a report of the incident and that Loggins was “not currently teaching while the university works to ascertain the facts of the situation.” Saller declined to share details of the investigation at the December GSC meeting.

University spokesperson Luisa Rapport wrote in an email to The Daily that, “The investigation, through an outside investigator, remains ongoing.”

Ji Qi Ni ’27, a student in Loggins’s section who was present during the incident, said he was “shocked” by the media representations of the incident, which he called “thrown out of proportion.”

Loggins facilitated a classroom demonstration in which he led a student through orders, including to stand by the wall. The demonstration drew criticism, but Ni said it was meant to shed light on the Israel-Gaza war and, as he remembers, the student who was chosen for the demonstration in his section was not Jewish.

Clark, who said he spoke with several students from the class, said some students’ impression was that Loggins addressed Jewish students to invite them to share their input and to provide a trigger warning before discussing sensitive topics. 

Others felt that accounts of the incident failed to elevate Jewish students’ perspectives.

Kelly Danielpour ’25, a co-president of the Jewish Student Association who spoke with several Jewish students from the class and was involved in reporting the incident, wrote that the “only students who can speak to whether Loggins created an environment where they felt singled out, targeted, and pressured based on a power dynamic are the Jewish students in his class.”

Danielpour wrote that much of the discourse around the incident has focused on the claim that Loggins asked Jewish students for consent during the classroom discussion and demonstrations, overlooking classroom power dynamics.

“Even if that student gave verbal consent to Loggins to be used as an example,” Danielpour wrote, “you can imagine how that student would have felt pressured to say yes to the lecturer who decides their grades.”

Students supporting the petition describe Loggins as someone who fostered tough but important conversations, created safe spaces for marginalized students and treated students like family.

Like Clark, Milo Golding ’26 is involved in the petition effort and previously sat in on Loggins’s lectures. He described Loggins as someone who created space for students to exchange different views on important societal issues. 

Golding said the media representations included “a lot of cherry picking” and portrayed Loggins as someone who forced his views upon students.

Ni, who concurred, said Loggins made it clear “the first day that he’s here to just have conversations,” and that Loggins told students it was “okay” to have “two different perspectives” on the Israel-Gaza war.

Some students criticized the petitioners’ claims, arguing that discussions of the incident should center the voices of the Jewish students who felt targeted.

Joshua Jankelow ’24, a former president of the Stanford Israel Association, wrote that having Jewish students “identify themselves is enough to single them out” in the context of the community’s “massive loss in the form of a brutal massacre two days before” the incident.

“If a student feels embarrassed, then they were embarrassed,” Jankelow wrote. “While there are ways to criticize Israel without being antisemitic, embarrassing Jewish students in front of their peers is certainly not one of them.”

Lee Rosenthal ’25, a former president of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, wrote in an email to The Daily that while he supports “students voicing their opinions on standing up for justice in the Middle East,” he “cannot support the call to reinstate a professor who singled out and targeted Jewish students in a classroom setting.” Rosenthal and Jankelow wrote in separate statements that they spoke with at least one Jewish student from the class.

The Daily was unable to speak directly with Jewish students from the class.

“I sympathize with the students who felt uncomfortable,” Golding said. 

However, Golding argued, Loggins tried to help students understand the people and communities impacted by issues raised in the classroom.

Golding said Loggins’s teaching style reflects his experiences growing up with a marginalized, low-income background and going “unheard.”

Echoing Golding, Clark said “the void that was created through [Loggins’s] absence was felt almost immediately by myself and other community members.”

“Stanford doesn’t do a great job of providing faculty that look like us or are from socioeconomic backgrounds that are similar to us,” Clark said.

In addition to reinstatement, the petition demands “restorative” actions that include the “development of a plan for a permanent role” for Loggins at Stanford and an apology from University administrators for their handling of his suspension. Students said the University responded more punitively to the incident involving Loggins — who is Black and Muslim — than to other instances of alleged misconduct by faculty members.

The University declined to answer questions about the other incidents.

Hana Dao is a vol. 264 Science Technology News desk editor. In addition to writing for the Daily, she enjoys discussing fashion and having picnics on campus.Anne Li '24 was a vol. 264 Equity Project editor. Contact her at anneli ‘at’

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