NYU faculty pledge to strike after nurse was fired for sympathizing with grieving Gaza mothers

New York, New York - New York University faculty and staff are firing back this week after the termination of Hesen Jabr, a Palestinian-American nurse at NYU's academic medical center who had spoken out against Israel's brutal onslaught on women and children in Gaza.

Hesen Jabr receives the NYU Langone Health Department of Nursing's Sebastian Brun Compassionate Care Award.
Hesen Jabr receives the NYU Langone Health Department of Nursing's Sebastian Brun Compassionate Care Award.  © Screenshot/Instagram/iknowwhythejaybirdsings

Jabr said NYU Langone Health dismissed her on May 22 over statements she made during her acceptance speech for the Sebastian Brun Compassionate Care Award, given to her for her sensitive treatment of mothers who had lost babies.

"It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza," Jabr said during her May 7 remarks. "This award is deeply personal to me for those reasons."

"Even though I can’t hold their hands and comfort them as they grieve their unborn children and the children they have lost during this genocide, I hope to keep making them proud as I keep representing them here at NYU," she added.

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Now, NYU faculty and staff are ramping up efforts to hold the university administration accountable for its suppression of pro-Palestine voices, vowing to take action with a service work strike next fall if leaders do not meet basic demands.

"We're appalled to learn of the firing of Hesen Jabr, winner of the Sebastian Brun Compassionate Care Award. As long as @nyuniversity continues to exact disciplinary sanctions against students & employees for expressing solidarity w/ Palestine, we pledge to strike!" NYU Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine wrote on X.

NYU faculty and staff launch strike pledge

Protesters for Palestinian freedom gather outside of New York University buildings in lower Manhattan to rally against their school's investments and support for Israel.
Protesters for Palestinian freedom gather outside of New York University buildings in lower Manhattan to rally against their school's investments and support for Israel.  © SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Earlier this month, NYU faculty and staff launched a strike pledge in response to the violent repression of Gaza solidarity protests on campus.

The NYPD arrested more than 100 demonstrators at NYU in April – part of a nationwide crackdown on peace protests sweeping American colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, Israel has continued its deadly US-backed siege, with Gaza's health ministry reporting more than 36,000 Palestinians killed, most of them women and children.

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"If the administration does not agree by August 1st to remove NYPD permanently from our campus, fully reopen public campus spaces, and grant full amnesty for students, staff, and faculty engaging in protests over Palestine, we will withhold our administrative labor from the university for the Fall semester," the pledge states.

"We are especially loath to participate in administrative tasks that aim to 'diversify' our faculty and student body, when our communities of color are directly threatened with the growing presence of NYPD throughout our campus."

The pledge comes as unionized academic workers across the University of California system carry out their own labor strike, accusing administrators of unfair labor practices in the militarized response to Gaza solidarity encampments.

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/iknowwhythejaybirdsings & SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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