Campus Watch in the Media
BBC on H.R. 3077
Julian Marshall: Fears among American academics as the government monitors the teaching of
Yvonne Haddad: It's an effort to silence us. They're going to monitor what we teach. It is against everything that
Anchor, Jonathan Izod: Scholars of Middle East Studies in the
Yvonne Haddad to class: "In the Islamic religion there is in the Koran a verse that talks about dependency of the human being…"
Ian Bremicum: Professor Yvonne Haddad stands at the blackboard in a small
Student: "I have a question about
Bremicum: After class a number of students gather to ask questions. But its not just students who are paying attention to what professor Haddad has to say.
Haddad using the internet, to Bremicum: "That's the one."
Bremicum to Haddad: "Keep scrolling down, there you go, that's your colleague, and there you are."
Haddad to Bremicum: "Right, and that's my other colleague down there."
Bremicum: Her photo, along with transcripts of things she has said, are posted on Campus Watch, a website run by the conservative think tank the Middle East Forum. Campus Watch says it reviews and critiques Middle East Studies in
Haddad: It's an effort to silence us. They are going to monitor what we teach and, in a sense, it is against everything that
Bremicum: One of professor Haddad's colleagues at
John Voll: The problem that I have with something like Campus Watch is that, rather than dealing with the question of discipline, of method, of approach, of perspective, what they have done is turned it into dealing with personalities.
Bremicum: And critics of the website say it's getting ugly. Yvonne Haddad again.
Haddad: Some of the work that appears on Campus Watch will bring people out of the woodwork, and they begin to call and give death threats. I have received some death threats, I know other people who have received death threats. There are some people in
Daniel Pipes: I have yet to see any proof whatsoever that such threats have taken place, and until they do I am dubious.
Bremicum: Campus Watch's creator, Daniel Pipes. He defends his work, and makes no apologies for what he is doing.
Pipes: The notion of a witch-hunt implies, I mean literally, that one can take people and, if not burn them, coerce them, jail them, have them lose their jobs. I have no such authority, I seek no such authority, I am merely engaging in my freedom of speech to criticize what I don't think well of. And what I find odd here is that while politicians are fair game, the media is fair game, I in my own way am fair game, why are the academics not fair game? They are public figures. They are speaking and writing in the public arena, why can't they be criticized? And I am telling them, sorry, I started criticizing them, I and my colleagues, and we are going to continue to until we are satisfied that there has been some significant change.
Bremicum: And Campus Watch is not alone. The truth is it's the tip of the iceberg. Here on Capitol Hill a number of politicians also believe that there is too much criticism of American foreign policy in the classrooms, and want schools to correct the imbalance or lose grant money. A bill currently circulating here is calling for an advisory board made up of political appointees, which would review the conditions on which schools are eligible for grant money, as well as monitor the programs and, I'm reading from the bill, "make recommendations that will improve the programs to better reflect the national needs related to homeland security." The bill has already cleared the House and is making rounds in the Senate. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson is one of its co-sponsors.
Joe Wilson: There needs to be accountability. If the government is providing the funds, here nearly $100 million, there has to be accountability for those funds. But that doesn't mean that there would be a direct intervention in how the program is being presented.
Voll: It seems to me that people like Campus Watch and the congressional critics have a conclusion that they want to hear. And unless there are real protection measures put in with this advisory council, the advisory council, then, could be the policeman that announces what are the end results. And that would shape, then, the intellectual process in a way that would undermine academic freedom.
Bremicum: At the root of this debate is the extent to which
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