Stanford suspended a lecturer for ‘identity-based targeting.’ Here’s what students say happened.

Ameer Hasan Loggins, a non-faculty instructor of COLLEGE 101, is “not currently teaching” after being reported for “identity-based targeting of students,” according to an Oct. 11 University statement. The report was over two class sections on Oct. 10.

The “identity-based targeting” and its relationship to the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict were covered in news reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post and CNN, and an op-ed published in the New York Times. Articles included accounts of the lecturer minimizing the Holocaust, justifying Hamas’ attacks in Israel and comparing the Holocaust to other genocides. 

Some students in the class told The Daily that while some elements of the article were accurate, they felt news coverage lacked context and important details. 

Stanford President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez wrote in a Wednesday statement that Loggins, who was not named in the statement, was “reported to have addressed the Middle East conflict in a manner that called out individual students in class based on their backgrounds and identities.” 

“The instructor in this course is not currently teaching while the university works to ascertain the facts of the situation,” Saller wrote.

Students in both sections were told on Oct. 12 that their sections’ substitutes, Sara Mrsny, Parna Sengupta and Nestor Silva, would be teaching for the remainder of the quarter. A COLLEGE program administrator told students on Oct. 12 they would be interviewed in the investigation process.

Four students interviewed by The Daily said none of them had been reached out to by investigators and they were not aware of any other classmates who had been contacted. 

Section One: 10:30 to 11:50 a.m.

Nolan Pierce ’27 and Michelle Zheng ’27 said Loggins connected the conflict in Israel and Gaza to the class’s reading, “How to Do Nothing.” “He was talking about how to do nothing is a privilege, and it’s not a privilege everyone has, hence what’s happening in the Middle East right now,” Zheng said. 

Nourya Cohen ’24 and Andrei Mandelshtam ’25, co-presidents of Stanford’s Israeli Student Association, told the Chronicle that “the lecturer announced that Tuesday’s lesson was on colonialism.” 

“Cohen and Mandelshtam said students in one of the classes said the lecturer began by blaming the war on Zionists … and saying that Hamas’ actions were part of the resistance,” the Chronicle reported.

When contacted for comment, Cohen pointed The Daily to the op-ed in the Times. 

According to Pierce and Zheng, Loggins asked the class if anyone knew about the Israel-Gaza situation and no one raised their hand. Loggins then asked the class, “Is anyone Jewish?”

Pierce’s account disagreed with Cohen’s: He said that the purpose of Loggins’s question “wasn’t to single anyone out,” but rather to allow people to express their perspectives or what they knew about the conflict.

Two students raised their hands but said that they did not really know much either, according to both Pierce and Zheng. Loggins “moved on from that,” Zheng said. 

Zheng said Loggins continued by explaining the historical context of the Israel-Gaza conflict — with a focus on the imbalance of nuclear weapons possession and military power between the two sides. According to Zheng, Loggins condemned any harm to civilians.

According to Zheng, Loggins told the class that he was not trying to pick a side.

Pierce and Zheng said that one Jewish student then raised his hand to ask a question: If Israel was attacked and people died in the Hamas attack, wasn’t it Israel’s right to fight back?

Loggins answered that the student was correct but that there was a “power difference,” Zheng said. 

According to Zheng and another student who confirmed the account on background, Loggins asked for a volunteer from the class who was “short” to demonstrate the imbalance between himself, a tall man, and a shorter student.

Initially, Loggins was going to use another student as a volunteer, Zheng said, but he then asked the Jewish student if he could use him as an example. The student consented, according to Pierce and Zheng. The student did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily.

In her retelling of the incident to The Chronicle, Cohen said that the student was “separated … from their belongings, and [Loggins] said he was simulating what Jews were doing to Palestinians.”

Pierce and Zheng said Loggins told the student to stand up, turn around and look out the window. Loggins then moved the student’s bag and chair across the room, took the student’s binder and told him to sit in someone else’s chair. 

Zheng said that during her section, Loggins did not mention the Holocaust or compare it to the genocide committed by King Leopold in the Belgian Congo. Students said the lesson proceeded as normal after the exercise.

Section Two: 12 to 1:20 p.m.

Diego Garcia ’27 described a similar start to the second section. He said Loggins led with an example of “doing nothing,” in which he asked a student to stand in a corner and do nothing. The student was not chosen for the example because of their identity, according to Garcia, but rather because they sat close to Loggins and were shorter than Loggins.

“It was to be funny,” Garcia said. “[Loggins] was laughing. It was just to show that doing nothing feels weird because we don’t have time to do nothing here at Stanford.”

As in the earlier section, Loggins proceeded to discuss the Israel-Gaza conflict. He first asked if anyone in the class was Jewish or Israeli, according to Garcia. One student raised their hand, and Loggins asked if it was okay for him to talk about the subject — the student said it was fine, Garcia said.

After talking about the conflict for some time, Garcia remembers that Loggins asked each student where they were from. One student said, “Germany,” and Loggins said, “colonizer.” Garcia answered “Mexico,” to which Loggins said, “colonized.”

Garcia said that he went down the line and asked each student the same question.

While he acknowledged others may feel differently, Garcia said “I really didn’t feel personally attacked.” 

Cohen and Mandelshtam told the Chronicle Loggins asked everyone in the room to say where their ancestors were from, and labeled each one a “colonizer” or “colonized.” When one student reported being from Israel, students told them the lecturer responded: “Oh, definitely a colonizer.”

The Chronicle also reported that Loggins asked the class how many Jews died in the Holocaust. When students said six million, Loggins replied: “Yes. Only six million.”

Per the Chronicle’s reporting, Loggins went on to say that more people died from colonization, which was what was happening to Palestinians, than from the Holocaust.

Students from the second section confirmed to The Daily that Loggins raised both the Holocaust and the Belgian Congo. Students from the first section who spoke to The Daily did not recall a reference to either.

“He compared the six million deaths in the Holocaust to the 15 million deaths caused by the genocide in Africa,” Garcia wrote in an email to The Daily. 

Garcia wrote that he felt “like he was alluding the point that people care about the Holocaust more than the genocide in Africa because the victims in the Holocaust were white.”

Garcia said that class then proceeded as usual.

***

“I didn’t really think anything of it,” Garcia said of the events in the second section.

Zheng said that she was grateful that he had brought up the Israel-Gaza conflict in the first section, because she became more aware of the events. She said that she felt bad for Loggins. “What he was trying to tell us was taken so far out of context, and all this media coverage and everything like that has real consequences on a real person’s life.”

Pierce said that Loggins was one of his favorite teachers: “Loggins was the type of teacher that would talk about things that people didn’t want to talk about.”

“Loggins was the type of teacher that would talk about things that people didn’t want to talk about,” Pierce said. “He almost felt like he was on our level, almost as a peer, because he would say his opinion on things.”

Pierce said that he understood why Loggins was suspended but said he found it ironic that a University that “promotes freedom of speech … immediately suspended the teacher that was following that freedom of speech.”

Saller and Martinez wrote that the report was “cause for serious concern” because “academic freedom does not permit the identity-based targeting of students.” 

Garcia and other students said they read articles and thought the incidents had happened in the other section.

Pierce said a CNN article conflated the two sections. “Only a quarter of it was actually true,” and “the rest of it was exaggerated or left out key details,” Pierce said.

He criticized that the articles did not mention why Loggins asked students if they were Jewish, that the Jewish student used in the example had posed a question first and that Loggins had asked him to participate in the demonstration. 

“I feel like the stories definitely painted him as the worst possible guy in every scenario, just because it sells better if it fits a more exaggerated story,” Pierce said.

The Daily has reached out to the Chronicle, the NY Post and CNN for comment. 

Garcia expressed similar sentiments. According to Garcia, after Thursday’s section with a new professor, many students, including the Jewish student who was involved with the example, discussed how they enjoyed having Loggins as a professor. 

Zheng said that if parts of the articles were true, “there should be a level of suspension or like training … but as a class we all really loved having him as a professor.”

Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi President Lee Rosenthal ’25 said “Stanford should be a place where students of all identities should feel safe and welcomed, regardless of the broader political state of the world.”

A University spokesperson did not respond to questions on the instructor’s current status, and the status and timeline of the University’s investigation of the report.

“As this is a personnel matter, we are not in a position to provide additional information beyond what the university shared in last Wednesday’s message,” wrote University spokesperson Luisa Rapport. 

Rani Chor contributed reporting. 


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