campus beat

Harvard Law group to host NYU Law student leader who blamed Israel for 10/7 attack

Ryna Workman, who lost a law firm job and was removed from NYU Law student government, will speak on a panel called ‘the Palestine Exception’

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Harvard Yard during finals week, December 13, 2023 in Cambridge, Mass.

A Harvard Law School student group is hosting a conference this week that will feature a public conversation with Ryna Workman, the former president of NYU Law’s student government who lost their job at a law firm and was removed from student government after sending a campus-wide email in October blaming Israel for the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7. 

“This week, I want to express, first and foremost, my unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination,” Workman wrote in an Oct. 10 email to the NYU Law student body. “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.” Workman has stood by this statement and refused to condemn Hamas. 

NYU Law dean Troy McKenzie disavowed the statement, writing at the time that Workman’s email “does not speak for the leadership of the Law School. It certainly does not express my own views, because I condemn the killing of civilians and acts of terrorism as always reprehensible.” Winston & Strawn, the law firm that had offered Workman a job, rescinded the offer, saying Workman’s comments “profoundly conflict with Winston & Strawn’s values as a firm.” 

Workman will speak on a Wednesday panel at the annual conference hosted by the Bell Collective for Critical Race Theory, a student group at Harvard Law School. The three-day on-campus conference, called “Censorship and Consciousness,” highlights pro-Palestinian activism, with a keynote address by Palestinian journalist Motaz Azaiza. Other topics covered at the conference include censorship in prison. 

Workman’s event is called “The Palestine Exception: A panel on repression and resistance.” Workman will appear alongside Rabea Eghbariah, a Harvard doctoral student who has claimed the Harvard Law Review censored a piece he wrote about Gaza; Fatema Ahmad, executive director of the Muslim Justice League; and Yipeng Ge, a Canadian physician who was suspended from his medical residency at the University of Ottawa after making a series of anti-Israel posts on social media.

The conference’s co-sponsors include the Harvard Black Law Students Association; HLS Lambda, a group for LGBTQ+ students; the Harvard Law Association’s Women of Color Coalition; and Harvard PalTrek, which brings students to the West Bank. 

A Harvard spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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