Temple University's Board of Trustees formally announced its "disappointment, displeasure, and disagreement" Tuesday with professor and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill over remarks he made last month that critics said called for the destruction of Israel.
However, the board declined to take further action against Hill, saying that he "was not speaking on behalf of or representing the University" at the Nov. 28 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People event at the United Nations.
"We recognize that Professor Hill’s comments are his own, that his speech as a private individual is entitled to the same Constitutional protection of any other citizen, and that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence," the board said in a statement.
During his speech, Hill referred to "a free Palestine from the river to the sea," a phrase often used by Hamas and other groups advocating the end of the Jewish state. At another point in his remarks, Hill poured himself some water and told participants that he just got off a flight from “Palestine” and that “I was boycotting the Israeli water so I was unable to quench my thirst.”
Hill claimed on Twitter that his use of the phrase "was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza."
"I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination," Hill said in another tweet, adding: "I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things."
However, the board of trustees noted in its statement that "from the river to the sea" is "used by anti-Israel terror groups and widely perceived as language that threatens the existence of the State of Israel."
CNN cut ties with Hill the day after his remarks but did not give a specific reason for his dismissal.
A Temple alum, Hill joined the university's faculty last year as a professor of media studies and urban education. He previously taught at Morehouse College in Atlanta and Columbia University in New York City.