By Dom Giordano

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia has sent a letter to Temple University expressing concern over the posts of an adjunct professor on a listserv questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Professor Alessio Lerro also questioned the influence of Jewish scholars in academia and demanded Zionists answer for what he called their illegal occupation of Palestine.

In a statement provided to 1210 WPHT’s Dom Giordano, Temple Spokesman Brandon Lausch responded to criticisms of Lerro and the school.

“Temple University promotes open discussion and expression among its diverse community of scholars. The exercise of academic freedom necessarily results in a vigorous exchange of ideas. The views and opinions of any individual instructor are those of the individual and not those of the university,” he wrote.

Nancy K. Baron-Bear, the Interim Regional Director of the ADL, wrote in her letter, addressed to Temple President Dr. Neal D. Theobald, that the school did not go far enough to reject Lerro’s assertions.

“When racism or other forms of intolerance are expressed in academia, it undermines the principles upon which the University was founded. We therefore believe that an appropriate response to such offensive speech is not censorship, but a strong and unequivocal denunciation of the message,” she stated.

Lessio has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Italian at Temple since September.

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