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Discounting the Facts, Part IV By: Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 15, 2006


Mari Matsuda
Aminah Beverly McCloud
Oneida Meranto
Priya Parmar
Sam Richards
Dean Saitta
George Wolfe

Mari Matsuda

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Mari Matsuda is a “leading legal architect of politically correct speech codes in universities” and that the speech codes at Georgetown University are a “mark that Professor Matsuda has left on the Georgetown campus.” Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Matsuda responds, “I have never, not once, at any university, participated in the drafting, debate over, or implementation of a speech code. I had absolutely nothing to do with the code at Georgetown and I have never read it. I joined the Georgetown faculty in 1992, and would not have been in a position to influence the administration as a newcomer, and I have no idea when they adopted a code. The codes I am supposedly the architect of were largely written before my book, Words That Wound, was ever published.”

Professor Matsuda’s claim that she had nothing to do with the drafting or implementation of the notorious speech codes is irrelevant, since The Professors makes no such claim. What it does say is that Professor Matsuda is “an architect of the legal rationale behind campus speech codes, which attempted to outlaw ‘fighting words’ in American universities in the late 1980s and early 1990s before they were declared unconstitutional.” [49] This is hardly a controversial claim. What is more, contrary to the assertion of the Free Exchange authors, the book does provide exhaustive evidence in support of this judgment. For instance, the book points out that Professor Matsuda considered censorship of hate speech preferable to the potentially devastating effects it might otherwise have on its ostensibly defenseless targets. Racist speech, Professor Matsuda wrote, “is best treated as a sui generis category, presenting an idea so historically untenable, so dangerous, and so tied to perpetuation of violence and degradation of the very classes of human beings who are least equipped to respond that it is properly treated outside the realm of protected discourse.” [50]

Considering that her book Words That Wound became the “legal cornerstone of the campus movement to restrict campus speech” (as The Professors notes), it is disingenuous for Professor Matsuda to protest that she never participated in the debate over speech codes.

Mr. Horowitz claims that “Arbitrary censorship of hate speech, according to Professor Matsuda, was therefore preferable to the potentially devastating effects it might otherwise have on its ostensibly defensive targets.” Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. As Professor Matsuda responds, “[Mr. Horowitz’s] statement is untrue. I have never advocated censorship, nor arbitrariness. My first amendment work—which I am sure the researcher, who relied on Web sources, has not read—responds to 100 years of First Amendment scholarship, suggesting non-arbitrary ways to distinguish among different kinds of assaultive speech. The law already provides penalties for speech constituting libel, fighting words, threats, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. My book argued that there are nonarbitrary ways to add assaultive racist speech to the list, but cautioned against doing this broadly or without limits.”

These claims are false. The Professors does substantiate the charges that Professor Matsuda advocated both censorship and arbitrariness. An example of her call for censorship is cited above and there is no shortage of evidence validating this point. Professor Matsuda urged censorship of hate speech far beyond what many advocates of speech codes were willing to defend. In Words That Wound, for instance, Professor Matsuda writes: “Taking inspiration from [Richard] Delgado’s position, I make the further suggestion that formal criminal and administrative sanction--public as opposed to private persecution-- is also an appropriate response to racist speech.” [51] Seen against this background, Professor Matsuda’s insistence that she has never advocated censorship is preposterous.

With respect to the second claim, The Professors makes clear that Professor Matsuda did not consider all forms of hate speech actionable. As The Professors pointed out, she has written that “[e]xpressions of hatred, revulsion, and anger directed against members of historically dominant groups by subordinated-group members are not criminalized by the definition of racist hate messages.” In other words, hate speech by Asians or African Americans against whites is not subject to legal penalties. Professor Matsuda argued that while hate speech leveled by black Americans against whites may be “troubling” it was permissible because of the “historically dominant” role of whites. In Professor Matsuda’s judgment, some groups should receive preferential treatment under speech codes. Others not. A more arbitrary -- and anti-First Amendment -- application of legal principle would be difficult to imagine.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Mari Matsuda only teaches “one course with a discernible connection to law.” Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up his claim. Contrary to Mr. Horowitz’s claim, Professor Matsuda responds, “most of my teaching is in a strictly traditional, doctrinal course: Torts.”

“This semester I have one hundred and twenty-five students in ‘Torts’ and fifteen in ‘Organizing for Social Change.’ This has been the ratio for my entire teaching career, and if I were not teaching my students the common law of torts, and teaching it well, I would not have been hired to teach at major law schools.” Moreover, Professor Matsuda continues, “my students’ evaluations for Torts are among the highest in the law school, and I am known as an outstanding teacher of the basic law for first year students. (This can be confirmed by evaluations records and with Dean Carol O’Neill—Horowitz never checked) This means an entire section of students, including many conservative students, randomly assigned to take a traditional law course from me, feel they are learning ‘the law’ well.”

It is highly doubtful that Professor Matsuda was hired solely for her expertise in tort law, which The Professors does not question, since most of her courses are, as the book observes, “distinguished by their unmistakable preference for activist recruitment over legal instruction.” Notwithstanding the false claim of the Free Exchange authors, the book bases this charge on a detailed analysis of the courses in question, which takes up three of the four pages comprising Professor Matsuda‘s profile. For example, the book notes that Professor Matsuda’s preference for political activism

is perhaps most transparent in a course called “Organizing for Social Change: Anti-Subordination Theory and Practice,” co-taught by Professor Matsuda and adjunct law professor Marilyn Sneiderman, who is the director of the field organization for the AFL-CIO and a winner of the “Harrington-Thomas-Debs Award” from the Democratic Socialists of America. “This class is designed for the lawyer as a change agent,” explains the course description in the Georgetown catalogue. The course is concerned less with educating a new generation of lawyers than with honing “the strategies of professional organizers.” Having absorbed “readings from Critical Race Theory, feminist legal theory, peace studies, and other social justice traditions,” each student “is expected to complete a social change organizing project as part of the course requirements.” There are no alternatives to activism, for as the course description cautions: “Students who take this class should have in mind a social justice project that includes some form of public outreach, education or institution building.” [52]

Another course taught by Professor Matsuda and analyzed in the book, “Peacemaking,” is a one-sided political instruction tailored specifically to lawyer-activists aspiring to oppose American military intervention and is organized around the question: “How have lawyers participated in peace movements, from draft resistance to Constitutional challenges?” Still another course, “Asian Americans and Legal Ideology Seminar,” centers on the “relationship between law and social change, and the limits of liberal legal ideology.” (Conservative legal ideology, it almost goes without saying, is nowhere considered.) Although The Professors limits its discussion to these three courses, there is no scarcity of auxiliary evidence attesting to Professor Matsuda’s elevation of left-wing politics over traditional scholarship. “Legal Justice Seminar,” another course that Professor Matsuda teaches, is heavily informed by “feminist legal theory and critical race theory.” In this respect, it is no different from nearly all of Professor Matsuda’s courses at Georgetown.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Mari Matsuda against the profile of Professor Matsuda in The Professors.

Aminah Beverly McCloud

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Aminah Beverly McCloud is “[a] member of the Nation of Islam.” Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor McCloud responds, “I am not and never have been” a member of the Nation of Islam.

If this is true, The Professors is mistaken on this point. But as the following excerpt from an article on Professor McCloud by Richard Carlson (FrontPage Magazine, April 8, 2004) makes clear, this is yet another distinction without a difference:

“Islam is frequently cited in the media as the fastest growing religion in America. Perhaps in recognition of this trend the New York Times recently featured an Arts & Ideas section profile of Aminah McCloud, an Associate Professor in the Religion Department of Chicago’s DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America. The front page story was titled ‘An Islamic Scholar With the Dual Role of Activist.’ A large accompanying photo shows that McCloud is a portly 56-year-old African-American woman wearing a black leather jacket and knit cap. She is seen in her Islamic prayer room.

“At the beginning of the piece, written by Felicia R. Lee, McCloud, the professor is cited as exchanging ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ greetings with two young men guarding the front door of Muhammad University in Chicago, a school for young children, not college students, run by the Nation of Islam and its leader Louis Farrakhan. McCloud has been an ‘academic consultant’ to the school, says the Times’ article, and was treated like a ‘visiting dignitary’ on her visit to gather materials for her ‘forthcoming books on the nation of Islam and black American Muslims.’ The Times says that McCloud has spent a great deal of time with Mr. Farrakhan ‘and finds him an intelligent and charismatic man.’ She believes the public view of him as a social and religious leader is distorted because of the focus on his incendiary statements. ‘To distill his views down to one sentence to what he utters about Jews is an utter negation of what he has done, in the same way that no one has written off Thomas Jefferson because he raped a slave woman.’”

Whether Professor McCloud is a card-carrying member of the “The Nation” is irrelevant to criticism of her academic performance in The Professors, including the fact that in her courses on Islam Professor McCloud assigns books that liken Muslim terrorists to the American founders and describe their cause as a “struggle in the name of justice.” Nor does it address the complaints of Professor McCloud’s students, who describe her as an in-class bully intolerant of opinions that differ from her own.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Beverly McCloud against the profile of Professor McCloud in The Professors.

Oneida Meranto

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Oneida Meranto is an associate professor of political science. Professor Meranto is a full professor.

At the time the research for Professor Meranto’s profile was completed, in 2005, she was listed as an associate professor, a position she no more deserved than that of full professor.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Meranto “has served as faculty advisor to Students for Social and Economic Justice.” Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Meranto responds, “I do not recall ever being a faculty advisor for Students for Social and Economic Justice.”

The implicit notion in this charge that every trivial detail in a book demands a footnote with supporting evidence is absurd. But since Professor Meranto’s memory fails her, a 1997 article in The Metropolitan (“Columbian visit enriched Metro Fulbright professor,” by Judy Bandstra), which is the student newspaper of the Metropolitan State College, states: “Meranto teaches Native American politics, Latin American Politics and American politics. She is also the faculty advisor for two Metro clubs, the Metro American Indian Student Empowerment and Students for Social and Economic Justice.” [53] Perhaps this will jog Professor Meranto’s memory, and perhaps this error – along with the many others pointed out in this response – will be corrected on the Free Exchange website.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Meranto “currently advises the Metropolitan American Indian Students for Empowerment (originally called ‘Native American Students for Un-American Values’).” No such group is listed in the Metropolitan State Student Organizations Directory. Professor Meranto responds, “I have never advised a group called the Native American Students for Un-American Values. In my fourteen years at [Metro State College] there has never been such a student group with that name.”

The facts do not comport with Professor Meranto’s response. As a leading opponent of the Academic Bill of Rights in Colorado, Professor Meranto and her colleagues in the Political Science department put up a flyer in 2004 announcing a meeting to protest its passage. According to the flyer, the meeting was “[s]ponsored by the Native American Students for Unamerican Activities and the Native community.” [54]

Mr. Horowitz claims that “A perusal of the Department of Political Science website for Metro State College reveals the vast difference between [Professor] Meranto’s negligible scholarly accomplishments and those of the other members of her department.” As Professor Meranto responds, Mr. Horowitz’s claim is a “total fabrication. Anyone can open up the faculty website and see that I have more publications than the six full-time faculty combined, with the exception of Dr. Provizer.”

A publication is not the same as a scholarly publication. The statement about Professor Meranto’s scholarly accomplishments – or lack thereof -- cannot be a “total fabrication” because, as The Professors points out, it rests on observable evidence: “To judge from her own website, Professor Meranto has almost no scholarly work to her credit--perhaps one peer-reviewed article in 2001. She also has three or four polemics in obscure left-wing venues. It is an open question as to how someone with these poor credentials ever became an associate professor with tenure, when the normal requirement for that status, which confers a lifetime appointment, is at least a book and perhaps several peer-reviewed articles. The only book Meranto ever published was in 1986, and that was her husband’s book, which she completed after his death, long before she earned a PhD.” [55] Neither Professor Meranto nor the Free Exchange authors offer any rebuttal to this detailed indictment.

Mr. Horowitz claims that a book written by Professor Meranto’s late husband Phil Meranto (who died in 1985 before Professor Meranto was in graduate school) “embodies the Merantos’ belief that ‘progressive’ professors are entitled to use the classroom to foment social rebellion against capitalist, Anglo-Saxon America.” (284-85) Professor Meranto responds, “the book my husband wrote and I published after his death has nothing to do with what I do in the classroom, nor does it embody what Mr. Horowitz states.”

The summary of the Merantos’ book is accurate. To cite just one representative instance, chapter three of Guarding the Ivory Tower contains the following call for a political rebellion to remake universities into bastions of radicalism: “So the demand for radical analysis and radical critiques of domestic and foreign policies, social problems, social structure, history, race relations and whatever, is far in excess of the supply that is allowed to reach the campuses by the monopoly manipulators of the establishment ideology. Still, it is difficult to hold back history, and just when the hand of orthodoxy seems to have gained a death grip on the minds and hearts of our people, the quietude and ideational stagnation of the academy is again shattered by urgent cries for justice and truth; the ideational monopolists are shaken by competing views; the campus bureaucrats are discomforted by protesters; the plutocracy is challenged by democracy--and life once more struggles to renew itself.” [56]

This is a political tract, not a scholarly publication, yet it is the basis for Meranto’s tenured position.

Mr. Horowitz does not mention that three student grievances were, in fact, filed against Professor Meranto, charging her with political bias in the classroom.

These grievances were investigated and dismissed following due process. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, Metropolitan State College President Raymond Kieft’s decision on the grievances stated: “You [Professor Meranto] are entirely within your legal rights to hold and express views contrary to your students’ on Latin American politics, current public issues like the ‘student bill of rights,’ and the proper responsibilities of student organizations you advise and its members…The College cannot and will not presume that your treatment of students reflects ideological bias or prejudice merely because you express your point of view.”

President Kieft wrote that students have the same rights to freedom of expression and association that Professor Meranto does, and that the college requires that she grade students on their academic performance and not their point of view. “This investigation gave me substantial reason to believe that you acted at all times consistently with this standard,” he said. President Kieft concluded that “‘watchdogs’ for ‘political bias’ who seek to remove professors holding a point of view will inhibit the rich dialogue that must take place in the classroom and destroy the expressive freedom that is essential to the search for truth.”

This entire claim is irrelevant to the actual argument in The Professors, which merely notes in passing that, “In 2003, she became the self-described ‘poster child for liberal leaning professors’ after she was accused of throwing the College Republicans out of the Political Science Association, a student club she supervised, because she suspected them of plotting to get her fired.” [57] Not a word of Meranto’s response contradicts the specific points made in The Professors. Nor does she provide a complete or accurate picture of her feud with her students (which, in any case, lies outside the scope of the book).

Omitted by the Free Exchange authors is Professor Meranto’s paranoid claim that the College Republicans were scheming to have her fired. The report also fails to mention that the school took disciplinary action against Professor Meranto. President Kieft placed a six-page disciplinary notice in Meranto’s file stating that she had violated the privacy act in commenting in telling the Denver Post in December 2003 – in an act of blatant intimidation -- that one of her conservative students had dropped her class “because he hadn’t done enough of the work and knew he couldn’t pass.” In fact, the student had a B average before withdrawing from Professor Meranto’s class due to her political attacks on him.

Finally, Professor Meranto points out that in his entire profile on her, “not once did [Mr. Horowitz] state or demonstrate what I do in the classroom, which is what I thought was his concern.”

The claim The Professors makes against Oneida Meranto is that she is an academic fraud, an accusation that is irrelevant to her in-class room behavior. Here is the summary sentence from the profile: “This raises the question as to how a political fanatic like Meranto was hired in the first place, and on what possible basis did she get her promotion to a tenured position, where she will sit in judgment over all new hires and promotions to tenured rank.” [58]

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Oneida Meranto against the profile of Professor Meranto in The Professors.

Priya Parmar

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Parmar “[r]equired students to view Michael Moore’s “Farenheit 9/11” on the eve of the presidential election.” Professor Parmar points out that to the contrary, “the viewing was not required,” and moreover, “this particular film was chosen by a majority vote of the students for a lesson on critical media literacy…The film was chosen for analysis, as it was a well-known current example of the use of electronic media for political purposes.”

According to students who took Parmar’s class, attendance for the screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 was indeed required. In light of Parmar’s repeated insertion of politics into her classroom, a tendency documented in the book through a number of examples, the students’ would seem the more credible party.

Professor Parmar’s claim that the film was chosen for its alleged insights into electronic media strains credulity. If that were indeed the case, why did Professor Parmar choose to screen Moore’s film, a demagogic attack on the Bush administration, just prior to the 2004 presidential election? The answer given in the book comes from one of Professor Parmar’s former students, who noted that she “insinuated that people who disagree with her views on issues such as Ebonics and Fahrenheit 9/11 should not become teachers.” [59]

Finally, while it seems to have escaped the notice of the Free Exchange authors, Professor Parmar does not teach a course on the convergence of electronic media and politics. She is an assistant professor of education, and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on childhood education. Professor Parmar’s decision to show Moore’s film merely illustrates her well-documented enthusiasm for merging politics and pedagogy, and constitutes one more violation of academic standards documented in The Professors.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Parmar “teaches…that proper English is the language of white ‘oppressors.’” This claim is also based on the allegations of the student in the New York Sun article. The student is quoted as saying that Parmar “repeatedly referred to English as a language of oppressors and in particular denounced white people as the oppressors.” Not only were the claims of that student never verified, “that student and another one were subsequently accused by the dean of the education school of plagiarism and were given lower grades as a result,” as the New York Sun article notes.

Whether the students were guilty of plagiarism is irrelevant to Professor Parmar’s in-class attacks against whites. Since the Free Exchange report mentions it, however, it is worth noting that the New York Sun article reported the following about the plagiarism allegations: “Students who filed complaints [against Parmar] with the dean said they have received no response from the college administration. Instead, they said, the administration and Ms. Parmar have retaliated against them, accusing [former student] Mr. [Evan] Goldwyn and another student of plagiarism in January after the semester ended.” [60] The article also noted quoted students supportive of Professor Parmar who nonetheless confirmed her routine attacks against whites, including one who said, “Although I do believe in some of the teaching methods she has introduced, this does not change the fact that it has come at a cost. She felt it was necessary to expose this ‘white power’ but at the cost of offending those who were listening.” [61]

Moreover, the phrase “denounced white people as the oppressors” is taken from a piece by bell hooks, an award-winning, and highly respected scholar on educational issues, who was the author of one of many assigned readings for the course. It comes from hooks’ response to a poem by Adrienne Rich, in which hooks writes: “One line of this poem that moved and disturbed something within me: ‘This is the oppressor’s language yet I need it to talk to you.’”

In other words, the report grants that the book accurately described Professor Parmar as teaching “that proper English is the language of white ‘oppressors.’” Concerning bell hooks, as her profile in The Professors points out, she is a self-described “insurgent Black intellectual voice” who has mused about killing white males and has claimed to hear in the standard usage of English “the sound of slaughter and conquest.” (hooks is a professor of English literature.) The fact that hooks is, despite her murderous antipathy to whites and her hostility to grammatical English, regarded as a “respected scholar on educational issues,” is precisely the kind of academic folly chronicled in the book.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Priya Parmar against the profile of Professor Parmar in The Professors.

Sam Richards

Mr. Horowitz claims, Professor Richards’ “lecture notes for the first class of each semester inform students that, ‘It is not possible to keep our ideologies out of the classroom or any other place where ideas are shared. SO I’M OPEN ABOUT BRINGING MY IDEOLOGY INTO THIS CLASSROOM BECAUSE I SEE THAT ALL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS ARE IDEOLOGICAL TO THE CORE.’ [emphasis in original]” Mr. Horowitz goes on, “This is a pretty frank admission that his agenda is to indoctrinate students, not educate them.”

First, the two sentences in the quote above are spliced together – the first sentence appears at the beginning of Professor Richards’ lecture notes, and the second sentence (the one in all caps) appears at the end. Mr. Horowitz does not indicate to the reader that he has merged these quotes.

And the separation of these quotes changes their meaning how? BTW: Sam Richards is a “Senior Lecturer in Sociology” not a Professor.

Second, the message of Professor Richards’ lecture is precisely the opposite of what Mr. Horowitz claims it to be. It is specifically designed to encourage Professor Richards’ students to think critically and decide for themselves what they believe. Mr. Horowitz leaves out the parts of Professor Richards’ notes demonstrating that Richards’ true objective is to encourage “thinking that attempts to account for all sides of an argument and tries to go beyond simple answers to complex questions.” Professor Richards’ full lecture notes are below; readers can judge his message for themselves.

Dr. Richards’s lectures are exactly what The Professors portrays them to be: an ideologically one-sided introduction into Dr. Richards’s political worldviews. That this is in fact the case will be evident from any reading of the lecture notes that the Free Exchange authors deceptively imply support their claims. Beyond candidly admitting his importation of ideology into the classroom, itself a betrayal of the traditional function of teacher, Dr. Richards concedes that he freely inserts his opinions. “How is it possible to keep every one of my moral and ethical opinions out of my classroom? It’s not,” insists Dr. Richards, a statement that would doubtless come as a surprise to the countless professors who succeed in doing just that. In fact, Dr. Richards admits that every element of his course is based on his own--and, as the book illustrates, decidedly radical--ideology: “The clothing I wear, the films I select, the books I choose, the type of exams I give, my grading scale—are all rooted in how I think the world is or should be organized (i.e., my ideology).” In view of this profoundly slanted approach to teaching, Dr. Richards’s assurance that he encourages “thinking that attempts to account for all sides of an argument and tries to go beyond simple answers to complex questions” is impossible to credit.

In addition, Professor Richards points out that the application for teaching assistants for his class states, “We welcome applications from students of all cultures, faiths, sexual and political orientations, and ability levels. The more diverse we are in ideologies, backgrounds, and experiences, the more we will have to teach one another.”

The book makes no judgment about the quality of Dr. Richards’s teaching assistants, so this objection is irrelevant. It is telling, however, that Richards selects his assistants not primarily on the basis of their ability or mastery of the subject matter but on the extent to which they flatter his politically inspired preference for “diversity.” The Professors also points out that Dr. Richards by his own admission has no academic training in the sociology of race (his expertise is liberation theology and Latin American studies), yet he teaches the Sociology of Race course at Penn State.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Sam Richards against the profile of Dr. Richards in The Professors.

Dean Saitta

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Dean Saitta “is the chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of Denver and Anthropology.” Professor Saitta ended his museum directorship Anthropology Department since 2003.

This is true but are they any more substantive than the error of referring to Sam Richards as a “Professor” when in fact he is a Senior Lecturer?

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Dean Saitta is on the board of the journal Rethinking Marxism.” Professor Saitta has not been on this board for years.

Two years to be precise (bearing in mind that the book was written in 2005). The point was that Professor was involved in a journal whose raison d’etre is rehabilitating a discredited doctrine.

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Dean Saitta “defended the beliefs and actions of

Ward Churchill.” The evidence Mr. Horowitz cites to support his claim is this quote from Professor Saitta: “ ‘My main concern about the Churchill affair is what it portends for the future of informed, provocative speech in classrooms that are already being monitored by conservative thought police.’” As Professor Saitta responds, “I believe that what Churchill said on 9/12—like the many outrageous and inflammatory things that people across the political spectrum said on 9/12—is covered by every American’s right to free speech. I’ve never defended the specific beliefs of Ward Churchill. … My ‘Thoughts on Academic Free Speech’ offers no support at all for Churchill’s specific beliefs. … Readers of my statement on academic freedom will also note that I’m as critical of the Left as I am of the Right.”56

As documented in The Professors, Professor Saitta’s claim that Ward Churchill was attacked for something he said in the classroom is a diversion, and a false one. In fact, Churchill’s in-class statements “were neither monitored nor reported. He was attacked for public statements, for fraudulent representations to the committee that hired him, for plagiarism and for shoddy scholarship.”[62] For Professor Saitta to portray criticism of Churchill’s academic incompetence as a free speech issue is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Moreover, if “provocative speech” and academic freedom were issues as dear to him as he claims, Professor Saitta might have spoken out against the refusal of the campus newspaper at the University of Denver to publish an article by Saitta’s colleague (and former governor) Richard Lamm critical of politically correct attitudes about minorities. Instead, as The Professors notes, Professor Saitta declared that this act of political censorship was “no infringement” of academic freedom.

Professor Saitta’s insistence that he “never defended the specific beliefs of Ward Churchill” likewise falls apart on examination. In his statement “Thoughts on Academic Free Speech,” Saitta cites Churchill’s infamous Internet apologetics for anti-American terrorism and his equation of American civilians with Nazi apparatchiks as an example of “informed” speech. It does not seem unreasonable to interpret this as a defense of Churchill’s beliefs. Professor Saitta’s claim that he is as “critical of the Left” as he is “of the Right” is equally hard to credit--unless one believes, as Professor Saitta seems to, that former Harvard president Lawrence Summer’s scientifically supported statements about gender differences are substantively the same as Ward Churchill’s unhinged polemical rantings.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and Dean Saitta against the profile of Professor Saitta in The Professors.

George Wolfe

In his chapter on Professor George Wolfe, Mr. Horowitz describes Ambassador Phillip C. Wilcox as an “anti-Israel speaker.” Ambassador Phillip C. Wilcox is a graduate of the National War College and has been awarded the State Department’s Meritorious, Superior, and Presidential Honor Awards.

Ambassador Wilcox spent thirty-one years in the foreign service. His last overseas assignment was as Chief of Mission and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem. In the State Department, Wilcox held a variety of assignments, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs. Ambassador Wilcox is not “anti-Israel,” as Mr. Horowitz describes him. He supports the two-state solution that is widely advocated by Middle Eastern experts and policymakers and which is the official policy of the Bush administration.

The description of Ambassador Wilcox as “anti-Israel” is accurate. The ambassador has consistently blamed Palestinian terrorism on the Israeli “occupation” while decrying “extremists on both sides” and thus drawing a false moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and Israeli military reprisals targeted at terrorist leaders. At the same time, he is on record as stating that Israeli settlement policies are as much to blame for the ongoing conflict as the Palestinian Arabs’ rejection of Israel’s fundamental right to exist as a nation. He also favors the ahistorical analogy that Israel’s alleged “dispossession” of the Palestinians is the equivalent of the Nazi Holocaust, and makes the equally false claim that Israel today denies the Palestinian Arabs their “human rights.” [63] And while Ambassador Wilcox’s past statements alone would justify the description of his views as anti-Israel, he is also a board member of groups like the American Near East Refugee Aid, known for its anti-Israel agendas.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Wolfe is a “fierce critic of Israel.” Mr. Horowitz does not cite any evidence to support this characterization. As Professor Wolfe responds, “I have never been a critic of Israel, let alone a ‘fierce critic.’”

The characterization of Professor Wolfe as a “fierce critic of Israel” is factual and The Professors bolsters the characterization with evidence. For instance, The Professors notes that “Professor Wolfe raised funds through the [Ball State University Peace and Conflict Studies] center to sponsor what he called ‘a student research project in the Israeli occupied territory.’” [64] Quite apart from the impropriety of enlisting students into his political causes, Wolfe endorsed a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that singled out for blame Israel’s “occupation” -- itself a tendentious formulation, since under international law Israel has rights to the equities Wolfe assigns to the Palestinians -- but not the Arab aggression that was its cause. When coupled with the fact that Professor Wolfe has invited to campus anti-Israel speakers like Ambassador Wilcox, but not defenders of Israel, the charge that he is himself anti-Israel is reasonably grounded in fact.

Mr. Horowitz claims that the Ball State University student organization Peaceworkers “receives its funds from the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies,” which Professor Wolfe directs. Professor Wolfe responds, “on the contrary, Peaceworkers is not funded in any way by the Peace Center. The students have always been responsible for their own fundraising efforts and have a separate student organization account.”

According to Professor Wolfe’s former student, Brett Mock, this is false. In an article for FrontPageMag.com, Mock reported that “Professor Wolfe took a group recruited from our class [viz, the aforementioned Peaceworkers] to travel to Washington, D.C., to protest the war in Iraq. The Peace Studies center – a university program – provided the funds.” Even if Mock’s claim were untrue, Wolfe’s complaint does not address the more serious charge set forth in the book that he actively recruited his students into a group formed for the express purpose of opposing U.S. military efforts in Iraq and distributed special campus awards on its behalf to students who organized anti-war protests.

Mr. Horowitz cites the allegations of one of Professor Wolfe’s students, Brett Mock, who accused Professor Wolfe of giving credit to students who “traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in anti-war demonstrations.” Mr. Mock’s allegations were investigated by the university and found to be groundless in 2004, well before The Professors was published. Yet Mr. Horowitz fails to mention this fact, and repeats Mr. Mock’s allegations as if they still had merit.

The university’s report is difficult credit, since BSU Provost Beverley Pitts, who carried out the investigation, declined to contact Brett Mock, whose complaint had made an investigation necessary in the first place and simply ignored critics when they pointed out this obvious flaw in the investigation. The notion that the resulting incomplete investigation somehow discredits Mock’s criticisms is highly suspect.

In 2004, Ball State’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Beverley Pitts, wrote a letter of support for Professor Wolfe which explains: “Mr. Mock’s assertion that students received extra credit for a university sponsored trip to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of protesting the war in Iraq is incorrect. Rather, three students in the course last spring chose to attend a lobbying workshop in Washington to learn the protocol for lobbying Congress. This opportunity, which was made available to all students, developed skills pertaining to lobbying that apply to all issues, independent of position. This experience fulfilled the field assignment, and travel support was provided to encourage attendance.

Provost Pitts also notes, “as part of fulfilling his field assignment, Mr. Mock received credit for attending a meeting in Indianapolis at which Vice President Dick Cheney spoke.”57 Mr. Horowitz does not mention this fact in his book.

Brett Mock ably rebutted these arguments in an article for FrontPageMag.com (apparently unnoticed by Free Exchange) in which he observed that the “lobbying workshop” the students visited was held by an anti-war group called the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Wrote Mock:

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), which organized the event, explains that “participants gathered in the William Penn House [a radical Quaker group] to learn from FCNL lobbyists and interns about Iraq, civil liberties in the United States, nuclear disarmament, and Native American rights.” The speakers included David Culp, FCNL’s nuclear disarmament lobbyist, and Adrien Niyongabo of the Alternatives to Violence Project in the African Great Lakes region. The festivities included a visit to the statue of Gandhi near the Penn House. Not only was the group that hosted the “lobbying workshop” an anti-military organization opposed to the war in Iraq, but the students who went on the trip were all members of the Peace Workers organization – a group directed by Professor Wolfe himself. By their own account, these students went to Washington for the purpose of protesting the war in Iraq--their main issue.

Moreover, Mock has acknowledged that he received credit for attending a speech by Vice President Cheney, but he also noted that the “two credits are hardly parallel. Students in Professor Wolfe’s course are required to do a field assignment for which they receive credit (my attendance at the Cheney speech counted for one third of my required credits). Students are required to choose two out of three options for their field assignments. One option is to be an active member of the Peace Workers Organization directed by Professor Wolfe; another option is to pay for and attend three meditation training sessions conducted by Professor Wolfe; the final option is to attend a set of ‘interfaith fellowship meetings’ directed by Professor Wolfe. None of these activities, it should be noted, represents an academic approach to the questions of war and peace or conflict resolution – which was the basis of my complaint.”

Equally, this was the basis of the criticisms of Professor Wolfe in the book, none of which the professor, his university enablers, or the Free Exchange authors who uncritically recite their claims have succeeded in disproving.

When representatives of Mr. Horowitz’s organization Students for Academic Freedom responded to Provost Pitt’s letter, Ball State University President Jo Ann M. Gora sent a letter to the Muncie Star Press headlined “Ball State’s critics ignore facts, policies.” Her letter states: [Professor Wolfe’s] course not only encouraged the discussion of differing viewpoints but also allowed students to fulfill a field assignment course requirement by participating in activities outside the classroom in ways that best fit their own personal beliefs.

This description of Professor’s Wolfe’s course is already answered in The Professors: “According to Brett Mock, Professor Wolfe showed ‘no tolerance whatsoever for any disagreement and said that he would never support the use of force as an instrument of peace,’ an ideological disposition reflected in the required readings for the course [which, as the book points out, included the required text, Peace and Conflict Studies, a doctrinaire pacifist tract that nonetheless makes exceptions for “revolutionary violence”]. Mock also claimed that Professor Wolfe regularly gave lower grades to students who did not share his ideological disposition. On the other hand, students who echoed Professor Wolfe’s own positions that the U.S.-led war in Iraq was a ‘fiasco’ that was ‘leading us down the wrong path,’ and traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in anti-war demonstrations, were rewarded with extra credit. So that there should be no doubt about the political opinions students were expected to hold, Professor Wolfe required his class to attend a screening of the anti-war film Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the War in Iraq.[65] In other words, it is President Gora who ignores the facts.

It should also be noted that the course was evaluated by students that semester—as it has been each time it has been taught—and there were no negative evaluations. In fact, Mr. Mock has never made a direct complaint to the university—formal or informal—and he waited until months after the course had concluded before first making claims in an article published by Mr. Horowitz’s online magazine. The only complaint the university received was a letter from Sara Dogan of the national Students for Academic Freedom organization. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Beverley Pitts responded promptly to Ms. Dogan after looking into Mr. Mock’s claims as stated in her letter.

Whether or not Brett Mock ever filed a formal complaint has no bearing whatsoever on the substance of the criticisms in the book, and the Free Exchange authors’ motivation in citing the above letter seems to be solely to impugn the motives of Brett Mock. For the record, however, Mock has explained in past articles for FrontPageMag.com that he did not initially publicize his concerns because his course with Professor Wolfe was part of a minor that he hoped would supplement his major; when the course first began he was unaware that it would go on to take such a one-sided view of conflict resolution; and, finally, he feared that Professor Wolfe would retaliate against him by lowering his grade.

Ball State is merely one target in an unfair and outrageous smear campaign by Mr. Horowitz and his organization. Mr. Horowitz has stated that all “250 peace studies programs in America…teach students to identify with America’s terrorist enemies and to identify America as a Great Satan oppressing the world’s poor and causing them to go hungry.” Clearly, his problem isn’t with Ball State or even with our Peace Studies program.

The Professors profiles several “Peace Studies” professors and programs, including a Peace Studies textbook. They all share the same outlook and agendas. The fact that Peace Studies is an ideological field created by political activists with common agendas – or that David Horowitz thinks they do -- has no bearing on the validity on the accuracy of his description of the Peace Studies classes of Professor Wolfe. The above characterization of David Horowitz and Students for Academic Freedom is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, which makes no substantive claim about the issue at hand. With respect to the Ball State Peace Program, it should be clear that insofar as it represents the worst tendencies of university Peace Studies programs -- and with its patently one-sided political character it indisputably does -- it serves as a revealing case study for the more widespread problem in academia.

I wonder if Mr. Horowitz is aware that a third of the course Brett Mock took focuses on domestic violence and another third on mediation, while only one third deals with the history of peace movements and nonviolence.

The focus of the course is of secondary importance. What is at issue is the biased and unprofessional manner in which Professor Wolfe conducted class, as demonstrated by his exclusion of scholarly perspectives at variance with the professor’s personal politics and his willingness to use the classroom as a recruitment center for his anti-war agendas.

Mr. Horowitz fails to mention either of these letters in his chapter on Professor Wolfe.

For reasons outlined above, this is not an oversight and the omission is well-justified.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Wolfe “showed ‘no tolerance whatsoever for any disagreement and said that he would never support the use of force as an instrument of peace,’ an ideological disposition reflected in the required readings for the course.”

Again, the only evidence Mr. Horowitz cites for these claims are the allegations of Brett Mock. In response, Professor Wolfe points out that the required readings for his course “include sections in the Barash and Webel text [Peace and Conflict Studies] covering the topics of peace through strength, criticisms of peace movements, apparent failures of nonviolence, and rebuttals to the Leninist/Marxist argument that capitalism promotes imperialism which in turn, leads to war.”

The fact that Professor Wolfe assigned Peace and Conflict Studies as the required text for his course lends further support to Brett Mock’s charge that the professor promoted only ideological positions consistent with his own at the exclusion of contrary scholarly perspectives. As David Horowitz points out in his analysis of the book in The Professors, Peace and Conflict Studies is an “ideologically one-sided” treatment of a complex subject:

In the preface to their book, Professors Barash and Webel write: “The field [of Peace Studies] differs from most other human sciences in that it is value-oriented, and unabashedly so. Accordingly we wish to be up front about our own values, which are frankly anti-war, anti-violence, anti-nuclear, anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, pro-environment, pro-human rights, pro-social justice, pro-peace and politically progressive.” [66]

Peace and Conflict Studies makes no pretence to being an academic exploration of the complex issues of war and peace. It does not explore the many possible views of world problems that might lead to conflict, or the various assessments that might be made of the history of peace movements. It is, in fact, a leftwing screed whose clear purpose is to indoctrinate students in the radical view shared by “progressives” like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Michael Moore. No indication is provided to the uninformed student that these might be extreme views, nor is there any indication that there are other possible ways to view these issues.

[…]

Peace and Conflict Studies discusses the problems of poverty and hunger as causes of human conflict exclusively through the eyes of Marxist writers such as Andre Gunder Frank and Francis Moore Lappe. The text’s view of these problems is socialist: “To a very large extent, the problem of world hunger is not so much a production problem, so much as it is a distribution problem.” What the authors mean by this is that poverty is caused by the private property system and free market capitalism which results in economic inequality and that its cure is socialism which redistributes income.

In addition to these readings, Professor Wolfe states that his students are exposed to

multiple sides of pertinent issues in class discussions and on course examinations. Finally, Professor Wolfe points out, “[any] Ball State student who has a complaint can appeal their grade to a board comprised of both students and faculty as outlined in the BSU ‘Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.’ In my 22 years of teaching at Ball State University, I have yet to have a student formally appeal a grade, including Brett Mock.”

Contrary to what Professor Wolfe implies, he has provided no evidence that he assigned his students any texts exposing them to any views of war and peace other than the pacifist and “progressive” views forwarded by books like Peace and Conflict Studies. For this dereliction of professional duty he has yet to offer a credible explanation. As noted, the question of whether Brett Mock appealed his grade has no bearing on the criticism of Professor Wolfe’s course in the book; but it should be noted that Mock, in contrast to Professor Wolfe, has offered an explanation for this. In an article for FrontPageMag.com, Mock wrote:

Professor Wolfe’s charge that I did not care about my final grade is equally without merit. I received a B+ in the course. While not an A, it was not something over which to undertake an arduous appeals process. But my complaint was never about my grade. It was about the tendentious, biased, and unprofessional nature of Wolfe’s teaching methods and course. What went on in his classroom was not education but an indoctrination in his ill-informed political prejudices. That was not what I was paying tuition fees to Ball State University to receive. The bottom line is that Professor Wolfe abused his classroom, using it as a recruitment center for his extra-curricular political activities. As a Professor of the Saxophone, Professor Wolfe is in no way qualified to teach such a course in the first place. It is not surprising that he should teach it so incompetently. [67]

Neither Professor Wolfe nor the Free Exchange authors are apparently willing to confront the argument in The Professors that George Wolfe, whose main academic credential is that he is Professor of the Saxophone in the Music Department, is unqualified to teach a course in the social, economic and cultural causes of war and peace.

These are all the charges made by “Facts Count” and George Wolfe against the profile of Professor Wolfe in The Professors.

In sum “Facts Counts” identifies a handful of trivial errors in a 112,000 word text, supplies many similar errors of its own, adds blatant falsehoods, misrepresents differences of opinion as matters of fact, and indulges in numerous ad hominem assaults on its author including the claim that he is “sloppy in the extreme” and that his work is characterized by inaccuracies, distortions, and manipulations of fact—including false statements, mischaracterizations of professors’ views, broad claims unsupported by facts and selective omissions of information that does not fit his argument.” On examination, none of these charges is sustained. Simply stated, “Facts Count” is an intellectually sleazy and inept attempt to discredit a book whose opinions the authors dislike.

Endnotes

1. Horowitz, David. The Professors (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc., 2006), p. xxiii.

2. Horowitz, p. xxvi.

3. Horowitz, p. 306.

4. Horowitz, p. 5.

5. Horowitz, p. xi.

6. Horowitz, pp. 146-147

7. Berube, Michael. "The Abuses of the University," American Literary History, 1998.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Horowitz, p. 276.

11. Horowitz, p. 11.

12. http://home.grandecom.net/~jackgm/RPA.html

13. Aptheker, Bettina. Tapestries of Life. (University of Massachusetts Press, 1989), p. 6.

14. Horowitz, p. 15.

15. Horowitz, p. 16

16. Aptheker, Bettina. Woman’s Legacy (University of Massachusetts Press, 1982), pp. 4-7.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Rappaport, Scott. "Alumni spearhead drive to film professor’s course," UC Santa Cruz Currents, February 23, 2004.

22. Barash, David and Webel, Charles, Peace and Conflict Studies. (Sage Publications Inc., 2002), p. 571.

23. Horowitz, p. 42.

24. Horowitz, p. 45.

25. Horowitz, p. 51.

26. http://www.trumanindex.com/media/storage/paper607/news/2003/10/02/Trulife/Professor.Lives.Political.Turbulency-509705.shtml?norewrite200606071229&sourcedomain=www.trumanindex.com

27. http://www2.truman.edu/~marc/2006eoy.html

28. Horowitz, p. 80.

29. Ibid.

30. Horowitz, p. 91.

31. Horowitz, p. 90.

32. Ibid.

33. http://bad.eserver.org/issues/2002/60/cleaver.html

34. Horowitz, p. 90.

35. Horowitz, pp. 92-95.

36. Horowitz, p. 377.

37. http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~dcloud/socialchangesyll.htm

38. Horowitz, p. 154.

39. Horowitz, p. 157.

40. Ibid.

41. Horowitz, p. 158.

42. Horowitz, pp. 156-157.

43. Kramer, Martin, "Professors of Palestine," The Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002.

44. Horowitz, p. 173.

45. Horowitz, p. 178.

46. Horowitz, p. 195-196.

47. Ibid.

48. Ibid.

[49] Horowitz, pp. 277- 280.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Matsuda, Mari, Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment (Westview Press, 1993), p. 17.

[52] Horowitz, pp. 278-279.

[53] http://www.mscd.edu/~themet/archives/volume20/issue7/html/7features4.html

[54] http://www.frontpagemag.com/blog/BlogList.asp?D=&ID=&CP=67

[55] Horowitz, pp. 286-287.

[56] http://www.uvm.edu/~wmiller/parentimeranto.html

[57] Horowitz, p. 284.

[58] Horowitz, p. 287.

[59] Horowitz, pp. 298-299.

[60] Gershman, Jacob, "'Disposition' Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College," New York Sun, May 31, 2005.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Horowitz, p. 313.

[63] Wilcox, Philip, "Peace for Israel and Palestine: Seize the Opportunity," Remarks by Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., on Receipt of the Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Day Award from the United Nations Association, December 15, 2004.

[64] Horowitz, p. 355.

[65] Horowitz, p. 356.

[66] Horowitz, pp. 40 - 46.

[67] Mock, Brett, "Response to Slander," FrontPageMag.com, April 7, 2006.

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Jacob Laksin is managing editor of Front Page Magazine. His email is jlaksin -at- gmail.com


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