Middle East Politics Roil a US Campus ; at Columbia U., Pro-Israel Students and Pro-Palestine Faculty Each Charge Academic Freedom Is at Risk

By Eliza Strickland Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Middle East Politics Roil a US Campus ; at Columbia U., Pro-Israel Students and Pro-Palestine Faculty Each Charge Academic Freedom Is at Risk


Eliza Strickland Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


On Monday evening, about 400 faculty members and graduate students gathered in the imposing rotunda of Columbia University's main administration building. Photographs of street protests from the Ukraine's Orange Revolution last winter decorated the walls, which seemed appropriate given the whiff of rebellion in the room.

The professors who took the podium over the course of three hours all expressed some variation on a theme: that their academic freedom was under attack, and that the university's administration had not adequately protected them.

Political science professor Brian Barry, one of the more vehement speakers, went so far as to suggest actions to force President Lee Bollinger's resignation or removal. "A policy of non-cooperation by the faculty would certainly bring the campus to a grinding halt," he said.

The professors were responding to the formation and findings of a faculty committee which investigated student complaints that professors in the Middle East and Asian languages and cultures department intimidated students who expressed pro-Israel views.

When the committee released its report last week, it found no evidence of anti-Semitism in the department, but faulted one professor, Joseph Massad, for exceeding "commonly accepted bounds" by angrily criticizing a student for a statement about Israel. However, the report also noted that at the time Prof. Massad was coping with "a campaign against him" that involved surveillance by other faculty members and outside groups, as well as frequent classroom disruptions by students who were not registered for his class.

Some observers see irony in the fracas at Columbia in that, even as events in the Middle East generate fresh hope for peace, discussions about the region in college classrooms seem to grow increasingly bitter. On a number of campuses across the United States, controversial lectures and debates on the topic have been cancelled and professors have been criticized for expressing views seen as too partisan.

But others say the angry exchanges on this New York campus represent tensions in academe that are not confined to departments of Middle Eastern studies. More students, they say are asserting the right to make their views heard, even as professors charge that this is a generation less tolerant of ideas that don't jibe with their own.

The upheaval at Columbia perfectly mirrors this national debate, with both sides

claiming to be victims of intimidation and harassment, and both accusing their opponents of ideological motivation. Both factions proclaim themselves as the real champions of academic freedom.

On Monday night, Columbia's faculty aired their grievances, with many professors declaring the committee's formation a sop to outside pressures.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Middle East Politics Roil a US Campus ; at Columbia U., Pro-Israel Students and Pro-Palestine Faculty Each Charge Academic Freedom Is at Risk
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.