Paris university president apologizes for Gaza exam question


(JTA) — The president of a prestigious university in Paris apologized for an exam question that said a 2009 Israeli bombing in Gaza may have been a war crime.

Vincent Berger, president of Paris Diderot University, wrote a letter expressing his “dismay” and “regret” at the inclusion of the question in an exam for medical students on June 12.

“The question inquired as to the classification of a bombing in the Gaza Strip which resulted in 22 victims: crime of war; crime against humanity or genocide,” he wrote.

Berger added that the question “contained a regrettable polemic character which contradicts the spirit of neutrality and moderation of higher education.”

The question does not fit the relevant pedagogic framework and is irrelevant to medicine or humanitarian medicine, he also said, adding that the university will review the incident internally.

The dean of the university’s medical faculty, Benoit Schlemmer, expressed his regret about the question in a separate letter. Schlemmer said he “shares the legitimate feelings” that the question invoked in some of the students who complained to the university about it. He added “personal undertakings do not belong” in his faculty.

Paris Diderot, or Paris 7, was ranked as France’s fourth best university for 2011 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

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