Campus Watch Research
Joint Statement on the Misuse of Federal Funds Under Title VI
Middle East Forum and others
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the misuse of federal funds under Title VI of the Higher Education Act ("HEA"). Despite congressional reforms adopted during the 2008 reauthorization of the HEA, many recipients of federal aid under Title VI continue to use taxpayer funds to support biased, politicized, and imbalanced programs of Middle East Studies. These programs fail to satisfy Title VI's intended purpose, flout congressional intent, and thwart American national security and foreign policy interests. We support efforts to effectuate the intention underlying the 2008 congressional reforms. In particular, we support accountability and transparency measures to implement the 2008 congressional action.
Enacted by Congress to strengthen the nation's security by training future national security professionals and educating the public on international affairs, Title VI provides federal funds to 129 international studies and foreign language centers at universities nationwide.
Such centers are obligated by statute to conduct "public outreach" programs for K-12 teachers, educators, and the general public in return for Title VI funds. Today these outreach programs, which have no congressional oversight, often disseminate anti-American and anti-Israel falsehoods.
In 2006, Congress mandated a review of Title VI-funded programs by the National Research Council. Their report, issued in 2007, found that Title VI programs had become ineffective in achieving their original goals, and greater oversight by the Department of Education was needed. The programs used taxpayer funding to disseminate biased one-sided views that criticized American foreign policy and national security.
During the 2008 reauthorization of the HEA, Congress sought to address these concerns. The statute was amended, adding that "grants should be made . . . on the condition that" descriptions, assurances, or explanations are provided on how the program "will reflect diverse perspective and a wide range of views and generate debate on world regions and international affairs."
The evidence shows that many centers funded under Title VI still do not serve the basic objectives of the program, namely, to advance American national security and international relations interests. They too often exclude scholars with diverse perspectives while stifling discourse on critical issues. The biased learning environment that results suppresses the academic freedom of students and faculty with different views. At some institutions, students are afraid to disagree with their professors.
Particularly troubling is that these government-funded centers also disseminate one-sided views to an audience far wider than on our college campuses. The centers conduct "public outreach" programs as a condition of receiving Title VI funds and present their biased and often inaccurate views to K-12 teachers, educators, and the general public. Teachers, educators, and members of the public are thus being misled by programs that promote a particular political agenda, rather than a balanced and accurate perspective. Rather than serve American national security and foreign policy interests, these programs do the opposite.
These problems have persisted despite the 2008 congressional reforms that were intended to curb them. There are more than just a few isolated examples of the problem. In 2014, the AMCHA Initiative issued a report chronicling the public outreach activities of UCLA's Center for Near East Studies (CNES), funded in part by Title VI, from 2010 to 2013. Among its findings:
There are many examples of similar bias at other Title VI recipients:
As these examples illustrate, Middle East centers funded under Title VI have failed to comply with federal law, by using taxpayer dollars to present biased, anti-American, anti-Israel views in their outreach programs.
A proposed solution
Systems are needed to ensure accountability and transparency to effectuate the 2008 congressional reforms. We recommend the following two steps as a means of dealing with the problem that Title VI programs have no measure of accountability after receiving taxpayer funding:
Arguably, Title VI programs no longer serve a legitimate purpose because they have been disserved by the centers. In 2011, Congress reduced Title VI funding nationwide by 40 percent, from $34 million to $18 million. Unless effective and necessary reforms can be enacted, Congress may have to consider reducing or eliminating Title VI funding from Middle East studies centers.
ACCURACY IN ACADEMIA
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LAWYERS AND JURISTS
ENDOWMENT FOR MIDDLE EAST TRUTH
THE LOUIS D. BRANDEIS CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER LAW
MIDDLE EAST FORUM
SCHOLARS FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS
ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA
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