[Marxism] Fwd: Academic Freedom Under Attack at UCSB!
noah at noahz.org
Mon Apr 20 00:28:38 MDT 2009
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB
> <CDAF.UCSB at gmail.com>
> Date: April 19, 2009 11:24:02 PM PDT
> To: cdaf-ucsb at googlegroups.com
> Subject: Academic Freedom Under Attack at UCSB!
> Reply-To: CDAF-UCSB at googlegroups.com
> PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY
> Dear colleagues,
> UCSB has become the latest front in the war against Academic Freedom.
> Professor William I. Robinson, a Sociology and Global Studies
> professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been
> attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and two of his former
> students. In January of this year, he forwarded an email
> condemning the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The email contained an
> editorial by a Jewish journalist condemning Israel's actions in
> Gaza as well as juxtaposed images of Nazi atrocities with congruent
> images of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. The email was
> an optional read for students, intended to spark conversation by
> relating contemporary events to conceptual ideas discussed in class.
> One week later, the ADL wrote him a letter charging him with anti-
> Semitism and sundry violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct (none
> of which were coherent claims). Another week passed, and the
> Academic Senate Charges Officer then notified him that two of the
> students in the class to which he circulated the email had filed
> complaints against him.
> The complaints are that 1) critique of Israel is evidence of anti-
> Semitism and 2) the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be
> discussed in a class on Globalization.
> This case has already escalated way too far. Throughout the
> process, the Charges Officer violated several elements of the
> charges procedure, shirked his responsibilities, and ultimately
> acted as a co-complainant by fabricating charges that were not
> raised by the students. The charges have reached the Committee on
> Committees, which is now in the process of convening an ad hoc
> Charges Committee to assess the complaints against Professor Robinson.
> Based on patently absurd and malicious claims, the charges should
> have been dismissed out of hand from the beginning. Further
> consideration of the charges by the Academic Senate serves only to
> sanction politically-motivated attacks on academic freedom. The
> longer this case is pursued, the worse its chilling effect; it will
> spread fear among those who wish to present controversial and
> critical subjects. Even though the original complaint is regarding
> Israel/Palestine, the rights at stake extend beyond this specific
> topic. Academic freedom is a right that enables scholars to
> express diverse perspectives over contentious topics, free from the
> intimidation of political repression campaigns. If the case
> against Professor Robinson continues to go forward, it will lead
> down a slippery slope that may expose academics to repression
> tactics for addressing controversial issues such as stem cell
> research, evolution, feminism, LGBT rights, etc. It is incumbent
> upon members of the UCSB campus and the broader academy to roundly
> oppose this silencing campaign.
> This is an obvious attack on Professor Robinson’s academic
> freedom, one that ominously recalls similar campaigns against other
> critics of Israel across the nation. This is part of a broader
> campaign to automatically vilify and attack any and all critiques
> of Israel’s policies and practices through unfounded use of the
> term “anti-Semitic.” A critique of the Israeli state, its
> policies, and the leaders responsible is not and should not be
> considered an affront to Jewish people as a collective, the Jewish
> religion, or Jewish heritage. In fact, conflating the state of
> Israel with the Jewish people essentializes the assorted political
> opinions of a diverse religious group by reducing them to the set
> of policies espoused by the prevailing regime.
> We need your help! Please scroll below and follow the instructions
> to 1) email the UCSB Chancellor and responsible authorities on
> campus to express your outrage and register your protest, and 2)
> sign the petition.
> Please visit our website for more information on the case,
> including continuing updates, at: http://sb4af.wordpress.com.
> If you wish to contact the student campaign, please email:
> cdaf.ucsb at gmail.com.
> Thank you for your time,
> Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UC Santa Barbara
> Send an Email:
> The e-mail should be addressed to UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and
> cc’d to the following faculty and administrators involved in the
> case. Please copy and paste the addresses.
> To: henry.yang at chancellor.ucsb.edu
> CC: mgscharl at math.ucsb.edu, gene.lucas at evc.ucsb.edu,
> moliver at ltsc.ucsb.edu, mazer at lifesci.ucsb.edu, joel at geog.ucsb.edu,
> joel.michaelsen at senate.ucsb.edu, sarah at isber.ucsb.edu,
> butler at chem.ucsb.edu, scott at theaterdance.ucsb.edu,
> hcallus at music.ucsb.edu, gaulin at anth.ucsb.edu, spieker at gss.ucsb.edu,
> stemmer at mrl.ucsb.edu, caselle at lifesci.ucsb.edu,
> goulias at geog.ucsb.edu, amar at lawso.ucsb.edu,
> Stephanie.smagala at senate.ucsb.edu, ettenberg at psych.ucsb.edu,
> hualee at ece.ucsb.edu, mithun at linguistics.ucsb.edu,
> zok at engineering.ucsb.edu, helen.henry at ucr.edu, cdaf.ucsb at gmail.com
> To Whom It May Concern,
> I am a dismayed [undergraduate/graduate/alumna/faculty member] at
> [your university] writing you to express support for Sociology and
> Global Studies Professor William I. Robinson. As you may know,
> Professor Robinson and academic freedom have come under recent
> attack on the UCSB campus. Toward the end of February 2009,
> Professor Robinson received notice from the Academic Senate’s
> Charges Committee that two of his students had filed charges
> against him. The students alleged that an email forward he’d
> circulated to his class, criticizing Israel’s then-ongoing siege
> on Gaza, comprised anti-Semitism. These charges are patently
> absurd and should be dismissed out of hand before further damage is
> done to the university’s purpose and reputation.
> I demand the immediate dismissal of all of the charges against
> Professor Robinson as frivolous, unfounded, and malicious. Any
> further consideration of these baseless attacks is unacceptable. I
> join other students and faculty in pledging that we will not accept
> any resolution of this matter that is unfavorable to Professor
> Robinson and academic freedom.
> I also insist that the attack on Professor Robinson’s academic
> freedom, one that ominously recalls similar campaigns against other
> critical academics across the nation, be publicly condemned. This
> condemnation is essential to preserve full and fair discussion
> within the most important of the U.S.’s civic institutions. Any
> genuine consideration of these absurd attacks will have a severe
> chilling effect on the production and dissemination of scholarly
> research in all disciplines. Further, the attacks must be
> condemned to protect faculty and students from wasting valuable
> time and energy defending themselves against frivolous allegations
> and political repression.
> In fact, a critique of the Israeli state, its policies, and the
> leaders responsible is not and should not be considered an affront
> to Jewish people as a collective, the Jewish religion, or Jewish
> heritage. Conflating the state of Israel with the Jewish people
> essentializes the assorted political opinions of a diverse
> religious group by reducing them to the set of policies espoused by
> the prevailing regime. The charge of anti-Semitism is made in bad
> faith; its real purpose is to automatically vilify and stifle any
> honest critiques of the state of Israel’s policies and practices.
> [Insert personal message]
> [your name and contact information]
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