I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA. I was three years of age when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. My parents still remember what it was like for us during the invasion. Waiting for long hours in line for a few pieces of bread. We had darkness 24 hours a day from the burning oil wells. My two uncles are still traumatized from being kidnapped and tortured in Iraqi prisons. Most of all we remember our one-week-old baby cousin who died while the Iraqi invaders were stealing incubators from hospitals to sell them for profit. The Americans by contrast came in to liberate us and asked for nothing in return. I love this country for the freedom it provides and for rescuing Kuwait’s liberty in the first Gulf War. 12 Years later, America once again has selflessly protected my country and my people by removing Saddam Hussein.
I arrived in the United States for the first time 5 months ago with tremendous enthusiasm to study the political institutions and history of this extraordinary country.
I enrolled in Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California and immediately registered for “Introduction to American Government and Politics." I was shocked by my Professor’s singularly one-sided presentation. Week after week, I encountered a lack of intellectual and political diversity that I would have more commonly expected to have heard on the streets of pre-liberation Iraq. In this particular class I heard only one consistent refrain: America is bad.
A week before thanksgiving Professor Woolcock assigned us a take home final exam. The final exam consisted solely of one required essay: “Dye and Zeigler contend that the Constitution of the United States was not ‘ordained and established’ by ‘the people’ as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America's elite interest.”
When I read the assignment I remembered back to my high school in Kuwait. Many of my teachers were Palestinian; they hated America, they hated my worldview, and they did their best to brainwash me. I did not leave my country and my family to come to the United States to receive further brainwashing. I disagreed completely with Dye and Zeigler’s thesis. I wrote an essay defending America’s Founding Fathers and upholding the US constitution as a pioneering document, which has contributed to extraordinary freedoms in America and other corners of the world - including my corner, the Middle East.
Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naïve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy." Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment.
This scared me. I didn’t want to be deported for having written a pro-American essay, so as soon as I left his office I made an appointment with the school psychologist. She let me go with a comment that I don’t need regular therapy. As I left her office, I couldn’t help thinking that even my Palestinian high school teachers had never tried to silence me or put me in therapy.
I have since learned that mine is not an isolated case. Many students in American universities are being indoctrinated and silenced by biased professors who hate America. America saved my life and the lives of my family. How can I not speak out?
The local media picked up the story of what happened to me. Professor Woolcock then filed a school grievance accusing me, under section 5 of Foothill’s grievance code, of an “act or threat of intimidation or general harassment.” If you are confused by this, so was I. Foothill’s Dean of Student Affairs, Don Dorsey, would not let me see the grievance as filed but he summarized it for me by saying, "Professor Woolcock feels harassed by your having mentioned his name to the media."
As a result of growing media attention I am told that Foothill’s Board of Trustees has received hundreds of e-mails. I came to this country to study American political institutions and I have certainly been getting a crash course. I’ve discovered that, as a tax-payer funded college, Foothill has a 5 member publicly elected Board of Trustees who care passionately about Education.
Ironically, as I was going through all of this I learned that California State Senator Bill Morrow was introducing the Academic Bill of Rights to the State Legislature to defend academic freedom and intellectual diversity on California’s campuses. As a result of my own experience and the many stories I have heard from other Foothill students, I am helping to form a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom to get my college and my state to adopt this bill. You can encourage Foothill’s Board of Trustees to pass the Academic Bill of Rights as official school policy by emailing them at http://www.fhda.edu/about_us/board/.
Ahmad Al-Qloushi was born and raised in Al-Shaab, Kuwait where he attended English language school. He recently became President of Foothill’s College Republicans. He is a Political-Science major at Foothill College. Please e-mail Ahmad at email@example.com.