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Thursday, March 31 2005

Columbia review

An internal Columbia University committee has cleared faculty of any anti-Semitic harassment, despite scores of complaints from students that pro-Israel viewpoints -- and, in some cases, mere Jewish identity -- are not tolerated in many Columbia classrooms. But this NY Sun report certainly leaves one wondering just how transparent Columbia is being:

In an effort to manage favorable coverage of its investigation into the complaints, the university disclosed a summary of the committee's report only to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and the New York Times. Those newspapers, sources indicated to The New York Sun last night, made an agreement with the central administration that they would not speak to the students who made the complaints against the professors.

The Sun obtained a copy of the report without the permission of the university administration. Last night, when a reporter from the Sun came to Low Library, the central administration building, for a copy of the report, a security guard threatened to arrest the reporter if she did not leave the building.

According to one student, senior Ariel Beery, one of the campus's most outspoken critics of the professors, a Columbia spokeswoman told him that students were not being shown the report yesterday "for your own good."

Judith Weiss has been Columbia-probe central -- we're anxiously awaiting her take on this.



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Thanks for the link. My latest is here, but keep checking Campus-J, which is reporting from primary sources.

This says it all -

Biased committee ignores facts, protects its own"

Responding to the just-released report of Columbia University’s Grievance Committee headed by Vice President of Arts and Sciences Nicholas Dirks, Charles Jacobs, President of the David Project in Boston, issued the following statement:

“This is a biased report by a biased committee which ignored the facts to protect its own. We expected an unfair report from a committee composed of friends and colleagues - and even a thesis advisor - of the professors it was supposed to investigate. But the report is disgraceful, beyond our expectation. The Dirks Committee failed President Bollinger, who only a few days ago told the press that Columbia professors cannot ‘use the podium as an ideological platform to indoctrinate a captive audience.’

“The Committee considered only three incidents of professors harassing students worthy of investigation. We know there were many more. It projected blame for the problems on outside forces.

“While the Committee judged the testimony of Professor Joseph Massad not truthful - he was charged with shouting at a student, “If you’re going to deny the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, then you can get out of my classroom!” - the report so gently chided him (“...his rhetorical response to her query exceeded commonly accepted bounds...”) that his wrist may not register the ‘slap.’

“The Dirks Committee report tries to silence dissenting professors, upbraiding whistleblowers on the faculty who help students report abuse by other professors.

“The report admits the University Administration was insensitive, inconsiderate, and even antagonistic to students who complained that anti-Israel professors harassed them. And it admits that students had no effective means to register complaints. But it reduced a major academic scandal to only these narrow bureaucratic foul-ups.

“Most importantly, the Dirks Committee obfuscates the main issue: the teaching of lies and propaganda by Arabist professors who so demonize Israel that defenders of the Jewish state find themselves in a hostile environment in their classes.

“The report obfuscates by referring to incidents of biased, dishonest teaching in pedagogical and psychological terms. It classes them as ‘rhetorically combative’ methods or as expressions of ‘uncongenial views’ that - and the issue is reduced to this - make some students ‘uncomfortable.’ But the committee never considers the possibility that these ‘teachings’ are lies and propaganda. When Professor Massad teaches that the word ‘Zion’ means ‘penis’ and therefore Zionism is a macho movement, this is not an uncongenial view, but a lie. When at Columbia it is taught that the Jews are Nazis and the Palestinians are the new Jews, and that the Jews slaughtered Arabs in Jenin, these are not ‘rhetorically combative’ modes of teaching; they are blood libels, anti-Semitic provocations, deceptions, and Arabist propaganda.

“These issues will only fester if ‘investigated’ by friends of the offending professors, many themselves anti-Israel activists, circling the wagons. The only question is: What will Lee Bollinger do to restore academic integrity?”

Agreed with DLL--Columbia is sacrificing its integrity as an institution by letting this ass-covering, condescending, whitewashing stand. Alumni should be up in arms over this and should seriously consider withholding contributions as a protest. Money talks.

The very idea of their investigating themselves is absurd. It's one thing to have a University investigates its students or investigate a lecturer who took bribes but it's quite another thing to have the University investigate a host of its lecturers for a sanctioned (or semi-sanctioned) ideological practice.

As if they could declare "yes, we confirm this University stifles students, intimidates them, supports violence and mass murder, is in awe of Arab ultra-nationalism and maybe is rather racist".

They even went so far as to suggest the problem is actually not of fanatic pro-Palestinian lecturers who intimidate students but one of pro-Israel students who disrupt lectures!!!!!!

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