Campus Watch Continues "Shedding Light on the Professoriate," And the Professoriate Doesn't Like It
My colleague, Campus Watch Director Winfield Myers, has a new column today in the Washington Examiner on the realization among Middle East studies professors that their all too often shoddy and, in some cases, damaging work will no longer be held unaccountable. It seems that organizations such as Campus Watch, which lends constructive criticism to the field of Middle East studies, has these academics running scared. Read on:
Lisa Anderson, the former dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs best remembered for her failed attempt to bring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to campus, had a complaint yesterday for the Web publication Inside Higher Ed.Continue reading "Shedding Light on the Professoriate."
"Young scholars of Middle Eastern literature or history are finding themselves ‘grilled' about their political views in job interviews, and in some cases losing job offers as a result of their answers," Anderson said. She carefully stressed that she wasn't talking about those who study policy or the current political climate.
This situation has arisen, Anderson said, because "outside groups that are critical of those in Middle Eastern studies ... are shifting the way scholarship is evaluated."
Anderson's lamentations are part of a rising chorus from professors who consider themselves besieged by external organizations whose mission is to critique the performance of scholars. These include the one I head, Campus Watch, to which Anderson clearly alluded in her remarks.
Academic radicals have for years controlled campus debate by blackballing internal opponents, intimidating students and crying censorship whenever their views or actions were challenged.
They got away with such behavior for two principal reasons: A sympathetic media assured the nation that universities were in the front lines of the fight for liberty and justice, and there were few external organizations or individuals offering sustained critiques of politicized scholarship and teaching. These helped ensure that the public's reservoir of good will toward universities remained full.
But times are changing.
Scholars no longer operate in an information vacuum. Their words carry great weight not only with their students, who pay for and deserve far better than they receive, but with the media, which funnel their often politicized, tendentious views to a broader public. Given such influence, it should shock no one that the professoriate is scrutinized and, when found wanting, challenged.