Magazine article Radical Teacher

The Patriot Act

Magazine article Radical Teacher

The Patriot Act

Article excerpt

The University Faculty Senate of The City University of New York hosted "The Patriot Act and the University," a conference which explored how new restrictions on visas for foreign students and scientists, new intrusive searches for information, and a wartime climate of fear and intimidation have affected the way that universities in the U.S. are carrying out their academic missions. On display at the conference was an exhibit tracing the history of "McCarthyism at Queens College 1947-1955." The conference proceedings are available in streaming audio at the UFS website, www.soc.qc.edu/ufs.

Three artists have been served subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury that will consider bioterrorism charges against a university professor whose art involves the use of simple biology equipment. The subpoenas are the latest installment in a bizarre investigation in which members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force have mistaken an art project for a biological weapons laboratory. The subpoenaed artists, along with the accused professor, are members of the internationally acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble, an artists' collective that produces artwork to educate the public about the politics of biotechnology. As one of the subpoenaed artists said, "It was shocking that this investigation was ever launched. That it is continuing is positively frightening, and shows how vulnerable the Patriot Act has made freedom of speech in this country" ("Common Dreams Progressive Newswire," June 3, 2004, www.commondreams.org).

Scientists' manuscripts are the latest target of Patriot Act surveillance. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces trade embargoes against Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Sudan, warns that U.S. scientific societies could get into trouble if editors of their journals suggest ways for authors from these countries to improve their contributions. …

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