The National Lawyers Guild, the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the United States, sent a letter on October 5 to Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto, regarding our deep concern at the Dean of the Law School’s decision to rescind an employment offer to Dr. Valentina Azarova, a distinguished scholar of international law.
According to widespread media reports, supported by the statements of many distinguished alumni, former directors of the International Human Rights Program, and the resignation of the faculty hiring committee, the Law School at the University of Toronto rescinded an employment offer to Dr. Azarova following complaints from a sitting judge and major university donor regarding her well-regarded scholarship on Palestine and international human rights and humanitarian law.
The NLG recently had the honor to feature Dr. Azarova as a main speaker at our continuing legal education program on international law and the law of occupation at our recently concluded 2020 Law for the People Convention (convened virtually).
The NLG is very very troubled to see this latest incident in the ongoing attempt to stifle scholarship on human rights and international law, especially on Palestine. In the letter, the Guild calls for a transparent investigation of the incident, an apology for Dr. Azarova and all of the affected faculty and staff, and the reinstatement of her offer of employment as Director of the International Human Rights Law program at the University of Toronto School of Law.
The Guild further urges the University of Toronto to protect the expressive and academic rights of its faculty, staff and students, including and particularly on critical global questions around which international human rights law is so relevant, especially on Palestine.