Among the people who signed the petition are No. 5, Columbia University professor of Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, and No. 814, former University of Colorado at Boulder professor Ward Churchill.
Churchill made headlines when he called the victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" and compared them to Nazis in an essay. He was fired from his job in Boulder for plagiarism.
Khalidi, a Palestinian activist, was a director of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's press agency in 1982, according to The New York Times, when the PLO was still designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.
Obama spent time with Khalidi when the two were professors in Chicago, and paid him a special tribute during a farewell dinner for the firebrand professor in 2003, reminiscing about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, according to the LA Times.