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Professor accused of antisemitism leaves GWU for Qatar

Jewish group says antisemitism problem doesn’t go away with her departure

A professor facing a federal antisemitism complaint will leave George Washington University for a job in Qatar.

Lara Sheehi, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the D.C. university, left her job after facing allegations she mistreated Jewish and Israeli students in a mandatory diversity graduate course.

“I am writing to let you know that I have been offered a job at another university and I have made the difficult decision not to return to GW at the end of this year,” Sheehi wrote.

“As you can imagine, while this is an aligned professional and personal choice, I have mixed emotions, especially as GW has been my professional home since I was a graduate student,” Sheehi stated in an email sent to the university’s psychology department.

Sheehi (pictured) will now be an assistant professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in the capital of Qatar. The Middle Eastern country is close to Hamas and helps fund the terrorist group which governs Gaza, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Sheehi will be teaching psychopathology and clinical intervention, according to Doha Institute’s faculty website.

She did not respond in the past two weeks to several emailed requests for comment via email on her new position and the federal complaint.

In January last year, StandWithUs, an international pro-Israel group, filed a Title VI complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against Sheehi, alleging antisemitism based off comments she made to students.

StandWithUs told The Fix in an email on Jan. 10 that the federal complaint against Sheehi is ongoing.

“The purpose of our complaint is to ensure correction of the institutional failures that allowed for – and exacerbated – that environment so that Jewish students are afforded the opportunity for full and equal participation in the program,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, told The Fix via a media statement.

Jewish students must be “free from attacks against their identity and retaliatory punishment for having the courage to stand up for themselves in the face of that hostility,” Rothstein stated.

MORE: Jewish student sues Rutgers alleging antisemitism

After the complaint gained attention, GWU then launched its own investigation into the allegations, which cleared Sheehi of the allegations. The law firm that conducted the investigation for GWU, Crowell & Moring, stated the allegations were “significantly decontextualized,” “inaccurate,” and “misrepresented.”

“[These findings] prove our position that StandWithUs fabricated a complaint and intended it to find traction because of anti-Arab racism and anti-Palestinian sentiment,” the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, who represented Sheehi, stated in response to the university investigation.

She gave a talk several months ago for the group about “Managing Your Mind While Witnessing a Genocide.”

StandWithUs said Sheehi’s departure does not fully fix George Washington University’s problems.

“While Professor Sheehi leaving GWU addresses on of the issues raised in our Title VI complaint by ensuring Jewish students in the Professional Psychology Program will not be subjected to further discriminatory treatment by her, it does not by itself provide a full remedy for the hostile antisemitic environment at GW,” Rothstein told The Fix.

Other universities have faced criticism of not properly addressing antisemitism, particularly in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israeli citizens on Oct. 7 of last year.

Editor’s note: The picture of Sheehi predates the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

MORE: Jewish advocates continue call for sanction against CUNY law school

IMAGE: Lara Sheehi/Twitter

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About the Author
Rachel Lalgie -- University of Florida