UC Merced professor Abbas Ghassemi. (Photo/Courtesy UC Merced)
UC Merced professor Abbas Ghassemi. (Photo/Courtesy UC Merced)

UC Merced prof who posted antisemitic tweets is off teaching roster

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Abbas Ghassemi, a professor at UC Merced who was the owner of a Twitter account with a pattern of antisemitic posts, will not be teaching during the spring semester, according to a university administrator.

No further details were released about Ghassemi’s future employment with the university. As of Jan. 19, the UC Merced website still listed him as a teaching professor of civil and environmental engineering.

J. first reported on Ghassemi’s tweets on Dec. 21. He deactivated his account shortly after J. reached out to him for comment.

The development comes after the university announced in late December that it would launch an inquiry into Ghassemi’s conduct following the discovery of the Twitter account. In a letter announcing the inquiry, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz called the tweets “abhorrent and repugnant.”

In addition, Muñoz announced that UC Merced would develop programming around free speech, hate speech and antisemitism, as well as make policy updates to social media use.

Several of Ghassemi’s tweets were about Zionists and Israel controlling components of the U.S. government, media and banking systems. One tweet featured a photo of a “Zionist brain” with labels such as “frontal money lobe,” “Holocaust memory centre” and “world domination lobe.”

Ghassemi has retained the legal counsel of Michael J. DeNiro, a lawyer who specializes in First Amendment cases in academia, according to a person directly familiar with the matter.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.