Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R-Great Neck) joined Executive Bruce Blakeman last week in calling for the resignation of Hofstra University President Susan Poser.
Earlier this week, Blakeman said on Facebook that Poser failed to condemn Hamas and called into question Poser’s judgment and ability to lead Nassau’s largest private university after issuing a statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“President Poser sought equivalence between Hamas’ terrorist slaughter of innocent women and children with the contested political agenda of the Palestinian people,” Blakeman said on Facebook. “She is wrong, misguided and her judgment puts into question her ability to lead Nassau County’s largest private university and guide Hofstra University.”
Pilip, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces, said she was incensed by Poser’s inability to denounce the Oct. 7 attack where Hamas, an Iran-funded terrorist group that controls Gaza, launched a surprise attack storming Israeli towns across the border where at least 1,200 people were killed and 240 were taken hostage.
“Dr. Poser’s tepid reactions to date not only tells these students they are not welcome on campus, but also puts a target on their backs. This is unacceptable. I join with many other Jewish leaders in calling on Dr. Poser to resign her position immediately,” Pilip said in a statement. “She has proven that she does not have the interest of students at heart and is unable to lead this college. I will continue to use my platform to condemn Hamas and stand for Israel and the Jewish community worldwide.”
Poser, who has been with Hofstra since 2021, issued two letters to the community on Oct. 9 and Oct. 18 regarding the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
“The world woke up on Saturday morning to news of the horrific and brutal attack by Hamas on Israel and the unspeakable, organized violence and hostage-taking against men, women, and children,” Poser said on Oct. 9, two days after Hamas’ attack. “The death toll now is over 1,200 and will undoubtedly climb.”
“Hofstra University mourns the loss of life, and we fear that the situation will move this part of the world even farther from lasting peace,” Poser said in her first message. “On our campus, we have students and employees who are directly affected by this tragedy. Please know we are here to support you.”
Poser called Hamas’ attack “horrific and brutal” in a second letter and said “there is a complex history and conflicting views about the causal underpinnings of the current crisis.” The president added that Hofstra would hold a “Vigil for Peace” following the attack.
Blakeman, who has taught business law at Hofstra, had a back-and-forth exchange with Hofstra’s Board of Trustees calling for Poser’s resignation in a letter due to her “callous and unconscionable statement,” according to Fox New Digital.
The university said they stand by Poser, a first-generation Jewish American, and that she was the first to provide resources for the Hofstra community which has been deeply affected by the conflict.
Blakeman called the board’s response to his initial letter “disappointing and disturbing.”
State Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-North Shore) said Blakeman’s calls were a partisan political threat to “please his MAGA base.” Lavine continued to say that he supports Poser and the university.
“President Poser’s public comments on the October 7 pogrom were every bit as condemnatory of Hamas as were the statements of other noteworthy leading university administrators,” Lavine said in a statement. “Contrary to Blakeman’s ideation, her statement explicitly damned Hamas.”
Hewlett-based Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, of Yeshiva of South Shore, said Lavine’s attack on Blakeman was deplorable.
“As a proud Jew, and the President of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, your defense of the President of Hofstra University, mitigating the severity of the brutal attacks, by labeling it as a ‘complex history of conflicting views’ is deplorable,” Kamenetzky said in a statement.
Blakeman’s call for resignation came after Hofstra Hofstra’s challenge to Nassau’s approval of a 99-year lease to Las Vegas Sands to develop a casino, hotel and resort at the Nassau Coliseum that he favored.
A State Supreme Court judge in November voided the 99-year lease agreement that permitted Las Vegas Sands to develop a $4 billion casino and entertainment project at the site of the Nassau Coliseum property in Uniondale.
A previous version of this story was published. It has since been updated.