Springfield State Journal-Register

January 29, 2005

Controversial NIU prof will stay

BY Dori Meinert
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON--Northern Illinois University will not fire a professor whose past alleged anti-Semitic remarks generated controversy after he was included in a U.S. delegation to the Ukrainian presidential inauguration last Sunday, an NIU spokeswoman said Friday.

On Thursday, two House Democrats called for NIU to review its relationship with professor Myron Kuropas for his controversial statements on "the Holocaust industry."

Reps. Rahm Emanuel, D-Chicago, and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., sent a letter to NIU President John Peters Thursday urging him at renounce Kuropas' remarks and "to re-evaluate the university's association with Professor Kuropas."

In their letter to Peters, the House members wrote "as a participant in that delegation, Mr. Kuropas refused to withdraw anti-Semitic remarks he made as recently as the year 2000, when he stated: "Big money drives the Holocaust industry. To survive, the Holocaust industry is always searching for its next mark. Ukraine's turn is just around the corner."

However, NIU spokeswoman Melanie Magara said that university officials have concluded that any comments Kuropas might have made in his personal life haven't affected his teaching.

"Decisions on whether or not he will continue to teach classes will have everything to do with class loads and individual course needs and nothing to do with what he has done or said in his private life," Magara said.

"In a general sense, the university does not condone anti-Semitism or discrimination in any form," she said. But, she added, "We won't make a judgment on what he has said outside of his NIU teaching responsibilities. It wouldn't be appropriate. It doesn't have anything to do with his relationship with the university."

Kuropas, 72, who teaches education classes part-time, wasn't available for comment Friday.

Earlier this week, Kuropas told Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, that his remarks were taken out of context and that the controversy was devastating to him.

As Bush administration officials appeared to be distancing themselves from Kuropas this week, Emanuel also questioned who invited Kuropas to be part of the U.S. delegation to the Ukrainian presidential inauguration.

"How does a known anti-Semite walk onto a U.S. government plane with the secretary of state, as a member of the president's delegation - representing the United States of America - without anyone knowing how he got there or who recommended him?" Emanuel asked.

Emanuel, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, now chairs the Democratic