Middle East studies in the News
Student Speaks on Steering Complaint [on Joseph Massad]
The Bwog (student blog of Columbia University)
The Barnard Orthodox Jewish student who was allegedly "steered" from taking Joseph Massad's class because of the professor's anti-Israel views, has given her first interview. The article forTablet, written by David Fine, CC'13, reveals that the student wanted to take the class with Massad, despite his reputation, but was still "steered" away by her major advisor, BarnardProfessor Rachel McDermott.
If the student's story is true, it appears that she was steered away from taking the class not because she disagreed with the professor on an academic or political level, but because of her religious and ethnic identity. The situation seems to have more in common with an advisor telling a student "don't take this class because you're black and the professor hates blacks" (which is illegal) than with an advisor telling a student, "don't take this class because you don't like math and the professor uses a lot of math," (which is fine).
The article also explains exactly how the January steering incident culminated in an official inquiry by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, who confirmed to Tablet that they're currently "investigating a complaint alleging Columbia University discriminated against a student of Jewish ancestry/ethnicity on the basis of national origin."
McDermott stepped down as chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department in September. She has declined to comment for Bwog or any other media organization.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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