Events around date of publication of this item.
Academic Freedom Declines Across the United States
: Academic Freedom Declines Across the United StatesBy
: Terri Ginsberg Rima Abdelkader Published in
: Arabisto.comDate of issue
25 November 2006Topic(s) addressed
: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Historian Tony Judt, Professor of European Studies at New York University, was scheduled to speak on the Israeli Lobby and American Foreign Policy at the Polish Consulate in New York City in October. Due to pressure from two Jewish American organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, his talk was cancelled. Judt had also been scheduled to speak on the same topic at Manhattan College, but that speech was canceled due to similar pressures. The ADL and the AJC believe that Judt, a Jewish American, is too critical of State of Israel and as such, should not be allowed to speak publicly on that topic.
In September, University of Colorado's Chancellor Phil DiStefano announced that his university would consider firing tenured Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill for his criticism of the Bush Administration and its handling of the events of 9/11. Churchill is currently being subjected to university censure for research misconduct by an appointed outside faculty review committee comprised of faculty members from chosen campuses around the country.
The Judt and Churchill cases are not unique. Since the events of 9/11 and the subsequent U.S.-led military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. campuses have become a battleground for an increasing number of publicly scrutinized attacks on professors whose teaching and research entail criticism of Zionism and of U.S. and Israeli policy in the Middle East. Each attack has involved blatant violations of academic freedom that have gone largely unchecked despite protest from faculty, unions, and scholarly organizations.
Perhaps more troubling is the case of Professor Douglas Giles. Unlike Churchill, untenured adjunct Giles was fired from Roosevelt University in Chicago in November 2005 for using the concept of Zionism as a demonstrative example in his Comparative Religion course. Giles was told by his dean that no classroom discussion of religion is permissible that may be construed as offensive to students of a particular faith.