A controversy has erupted at the University of Virginia (UVA) after a professor reportedly offered students extra credit for attending a rally centered around “standing in solidarity with Palestinians resisting occupation.”
The event, organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, was promoted by Tessa Farmer, an associate professor of global studies and anthropology at UVA.
On October 12, Professor Farmer sent a message to her students encouraging them to participate in the event, described as a “[teach-in] and demonstration about the current situation in Gaza, the events and history that led to this moment, and a discussion about how we can [stand] in solidarity with Palestinians resisting occupation.”
In her message, Farmer informed students that they could earn extra credit by attending “an applicable event” related to class topics and subsequently writing a 250-word reflection connecting the event to course readings.
The situation has attracted the attention of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican, whose spokesperson stated that he is “very concerned” and “looking into it.”
Miyares emphasized the importance of free speech but also noted that it does not include violent acts against individuals or property. He cautioned that individuals engaging in criminal behavior during demonstrations could face arrest and prosecution.
Furthermore, Miyares expressed that his office had been contacted by concerned students, parents, and other student groups regarding the planned demonstrations.
He urged university administrations to provide additional security to ensure the safety of all students, both during and after the demonstrations. Additionally, Miyares encouraged universities to offer counseling resources to affected students and support those with family members impacted by the violence.
The attorney general concluded his statement by calling on universities to develop clear safety plans for students, staff, and faculty to maintain public safety and ensure viewpoint diversity.
Fox News Digital reached out to Professor Farmer for comment, but no response was received by the time of publication.
UVA President James E. Ryan also issued a statement in which he asserted that there could be no justification for the actions of Hamas and condemned the violence against civilians, including children.
President Ryan did not directly address the controversy surrounding the extra credit offer but instead focused on the broader context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The situation continues to spark debate over the boundaries of free speech and academic freedom on campus, as well as concerns about security and student well-being in the midst of political controversies.