Nov

12

Mutiny!

Written by

Of 70 Columbia professors, expressed to the New York Sun! Some of them rather prominent! A faculty action committee statement of concern  accuses PrezBo of failing “to make a vigorous defense of the core principles on which the university is founded, especially academic freedom.” Particularly rankling to signatories–which include such luminaries as Akeel Bilgrami, Bruce Robbins, Mahmood Mamdani, Gayatri Spivak, Eric Foner, and former Provost Jonathan Cole, as well as predictable lightning rods like Nadia Abu al-Haj and Nick DeGenova–is the impact of outside groups on tenure and other “academic freedom” issues. The New York Sun suggests (albeit very implicitly) that this could be the early stages of the kind of faculty ouster that cost Lawrence Summers his job; meanwhile, the professors plan on presenting their grievances tomorrow at a meeting of the Arts and Sciences faculty.

Conspiracy theorists will note a number of carefully worded references to recent events in the professors’ statement: “Tenure, “the hosting of controversial speakers,” “villifying members of faculty,” “partisan political positions concerning the politics of the Middle East”…this thing could be read as the culmination of faculty discontent with Low Library’s handling of the MEALAC controversy, the al-Haj tenure debate, the Ahmadinejad introduction, and Islamofascism awareness week.

But one conspiracy theorist has gone a step further: according to the mysterious “Emmett Trueman,” who has been flooding publicaton inboxes with “inside information” about this year’s tenure battles, an ad hoc committee has recommended that Professor Joseph Massad be denied tenure (which New Republic resident codger Marty Peretz called a few weeks ago), and the letter is an attempt by the MEALAC faculty to persuade the administration to overturn the recommendation. Also worth noting: at a panel tonight lauding Massad’s Desiring Arabs, hosted by the Heyman Institute, the professor noted that he was “personally grateful for this intervention.”

So the profs are pissed (“concerned”), Massad could turn into next semester’s Minuteman, there are hunger strikers camped out in front of Butler and *gasp* Kansas is still undefeated. Thank God for dollar beer night is alls Bwog can say. 

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47 Comments

  1. Fuck

    Ohio State!

    Pete Carroll too!

    LSU is totally going to win the National Championship this year.

  2. More info please

    Where is this meeting tomorrow? Is it an open forum that students can attend?

  3. JAG  

    re: luminaries

    don't forget Foner!

  4. It's official

    Bollinger, effectively, isn't "black enough" for this community.

  5. Sigh  

    I'm not sure whether I'm more disappointed by the fact that I've had eight of the professors on the list or that they chose the NY Sun as their forum for this. Sigh.

  6. Thank god  

    some people are finally standing up to Bollinger, other than those in the tents, of course.

  7. hmm

    dollar beer night is now vastly overinflated due to the rapidly depleting value of the currency, too. too bad the treasury department faculty never succeeded in ousting PrezBush.

  8. Aga  

    I would just like to emphasize, before the strikers pick up on it, that these professors mention NOTHING about the strike and that their demands are entirely separate and different from those of the strikers.

  9. prezbo  

    will have the last laugh. his goal=make columbia better. controversy means publicity and applications. manhattanville means faculty, space, research. prezbo will be remembered as a bold leader who made columbia better.

    • bad press=bad press

      "controversy means publicity and applications"

      i dunno. it looks to me like CU doesn't have its shit together / is full of whiners / has such a choking beauracracy that people feel the need to go outside the exiting channels for being heard + finding accountability

  10. alum

    i looked at that list of professors, and realized i hadn't taken a class with a single one. i think met with proudfoot once though to discussion my religion major.

  11. anthro major

    whoa practically the whole dpt. is on that list.. including Pemberton, the director!

  12. what a bunch

    of out of touch extremists

    De Genova- Wants americans to die

    Abu El-Haj- Claims lack of evidence for past jewish occupancy of israel while specifically neglecting archealogical evidence

    Hamid Dabashi - who is openly pro hamas

    Akeel Bilgrami- defends Said throwing a rock at Israeli territory

    Mamdani - who callously suggested that the 'Jihad' waged by extremists in the recent past after sept 11th was a natural consequence of Reagan's "Crusade"

    William Harris- the same guy who said conservatives can't teach history a year before Barzun's 100th bday

    Lila Abu-Lughod - who tries to cloak repressive anti-woman practices under the veil of 'cultural relativism'

    Qais Al-Awqati- one of the few scientists who has in blog posts equated the political right in teh west with the self proclaimed small subset of Islamic fundamentalists who are violent

    It's a shame that minds like Robbins have associated themselves with this intellectually baseless joke which also suggests that Bollinger is allying himself with the bush administration http://www.nysun.com/article/66312 !!!

    haha. i'm sure grutter was just a way to ingratiate himself. its sad when the english/history/mealac faculty would rather support ahmadinejad and ask for restrictions on who students can bring to speak than even tolerate the idea that on a couple issues Bollinger and the university might do something which seems supportive of mcchimpybushitler...then again when you have closed tenure processes and depts which award praise based upon an ideological basis this isn't a surprise

    • Alum

      "Akeel Bilgrami- defends Said throwing a rock at Israeli territory"

      What's there to defend? Said, as you say, threw a rock at "Israeli territory", *not* at any Israelis. There's nothing even remotely wrong with throwing a small rock into an empty piece of land on the other side of a border fence in piece. Ergo, there is nothing wrong with defending the action against those who tried to manufacture a controversy out of it.

  13. i love

    bollinger!

    the guy is the shit.

    keep doing your thing bollinger. make us proud -- and better.

  14. HOLY COW

    race protests AND mealac protests in the SAME YEAR?

    PERFECT STORM!!!!

    This could end really badly.

    • CUCold War 1968-2007  

      On Tuesday November 13, Columbia University, the renowned Ivy League institution known for particularly strong student activism, radical political contestations and pushing the bounds of "free speech" tears itself to shreds. The university was up in arms late Monday, with tensions mounting between students, faculty, hunger strikers, trustees and PrezBo, each group with its own manifestos and absurd lists of demands. The internal rifts between the political left and right, Whites and Blacks, Jews and Muslims convened in a giant riot that burned Lerner Hall and Butler Library. Librarians cried while all haters of ramps cheered. Consequently, the CU Students for Ramps advocacy group formed “to forever uphold the memory and beloved inconvenience of the Lerner ramps.” Meanwhile, first-years were privileged to the best bon fires of their lives, which they celebrated by roasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya. Ironically, later as the hunger strikers shredded through the Core Curriculum, PrezBo razed Manhattanville. All the while, Buell Hall was well-defended by the French’s innate expertise for strikes and other manifestations. The French were also able to spare Low Library from destruction, rescuing it at the last moments through the underground supply lines. For now, the future of our beloved institution seems perilous. Perhaps we should just relocate to Havana, or better yet Paris. I always thought that the Expatriated Columbia University in the City of Lights (Formerly New York) always sounded lovely. ExpatCU all the way!

  15. you know

    On two occasions on Columbia history the faculty has tried to take an active part in the running of the University.

    During WWI the trustees and Butler fired anyone who spoke out too much.

    During 1968 the faculty tried to play the role of empowered mediators between students and administration. It didn't end very well.

  16. statement???  

    bwog, you suck at posting the statement and the strike.

    strike?:

    so assholes, to say this is not related to strike is a lie. lots of professors have written statements of support for the strike and there have been numerous verbal statements from many of the professors that have signed the statement. also the demands work for many of the departments that the professors on the statement come from. and to say this is not related to recent student activities is a fallacy and you know it, so don't play.

    i would say this is related to strike...you'd be daft to think otherwise...

    "The events of the past few years have created a crisis of confidence in the central administration's willingness to defend these principles."

    • Alum

      The fact that some professors support the strike does not mean the profs who signed this statement did. There are thousands of profs at Columbia, seventy of whom signed this document. Some may also support the strike, but that does not mean most do.

    • until

      the profs come out and say explicitly that their letter has to do with the strike, i am not going to assume that it is related to the strike. so what if some professors on the list have spoken out in support of the strike? that doesn't mean jack shit regarding THIS letter. if the letter is indeed related to the strike, why wouldn't they come out and clearly say so? the profs have no problem discussing their discomfort at bollinger's statements to a-jad and the influence of outside groups on tenure, so i highly doubt that they would be hesitant to add "student hunger strike" to their list of grievances. unless, of course, this strike wasn't even one of their grievances (shocking idea, isn't it??)

      and i fail to see how your end quote is supposed to lead one to believe that the professors are indeed referring to the strike. if you actually read the letter, the "principles" they are talking about are mostly related to academic freedom.

      prove me wrong.

  17. Hey!  

    www.crazyblinddate.com

    The coolest thing to hit CU since facebook! All you desperate whiny singles...get on that site!

  18. Aga  

    exactly (in response to above). although some professors may support the strike (and yes, a few may overlap with those who signed this statement), this does NOT mean that this document is a support of the strike IN ANY WAY. please, if they wanted to, they would have referred to it directly.

  19. oh, and

    and it's real classy of you to call people "assholes" just because we don't think the letter shows any concrete evidence of support for the strike. not only do you lack a grasp of basic logic, you also lack class and grace. way to go. good luck mobilizing more people for your cause.

  20. alumnus

    Faculty issuing a statement disassociating themselves from Bollinger's Ahmadinajad introduction I can understand--that's their privilege. He did make a very political statement that was ill-advised, but he had painted himself into a corner by allowing Ahmadinajad on campus in the first place.

    The rest of the letter seems petty and silly. I certainly don't get the letter's complaints about enlargement of the undergraduate student body and downsizing of the graduate student body. That was a George Rupp initiative and Jonathan Cole was quite active in implementing it while Provost. "Globalization," satellite campuses, and "controversial" speakers? If faculty members want to administer the university's day to day busines, they should become administrators. Bollinger didn't issue a statement stating that tenure wasn't subject to outside interference? That means what?

    I wish these faculty members were trying to turn down the volume on campus rather than raising it.

  21. bufgh

    i'm bored of this. what else?

  22. no, obviously  

    the faculty are not directly supporting the strikers.

    But they two groups are at least engaged in opposing PrezBo, even if their demands are very different.

    The man's introduction to Ahmedinejad was simply shameful and stupid. He criticized Iran for human rights violations and yet expressed unconditional solidarity with Israel. Well, guess what, PrezBo, if you're going to make human rights your creed, there's no government in the world you can stand with unequivocally. There's just not, and to do otherwise reveals your use of human rights as a cheap political tool.

    • Ron  

      This is absurd. Bollinger did not unconditionally support Israel. He said:
      ---
      As a citizen, I am profoundly disturbed by the recent vote by Britain's new University and College Union to advance a boycott against Israeli academic institutions. As a university professor and president, I find this idea utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment. In seeking to quarantine Israeli
      universities and scholars, this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.

      At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their government's policies. Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to
      its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish.

      Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.
      --

      That's unconditional support for Israel? No, that's support for academics, regardless of nationality.

      • Bollinger said  

        "Twelve days ago you said that the state of Israel cannot continue its life. This echoed a number of inflammatory statements you have delivered in the past two years, including in October 2005, when you said that Israel "should be wiped off the map", quote-unquote. Columbia has over 800 alumni currently living in Israel. As an institution, we have deep ties with our colleagues there. I have personally spoken -- personally, I have spoken out in most forceful terms against proposals to boycott Israeli scholars (in/and ?) universities, saying that such boycotts might as well include Columbia. (Applause.)
        [...]
        My question then is, do you plan on wiping us off the map too?"
        ---
        Yes, he did single out academics in particular as part of his shtick about academic freedom, but he also refers to "Alumni," not "Alumni who are academics," and to "Israel," not "Israel's academics." If Columbia and Israel are so synonymous that wiping one off the map should entail destroying the other, it sure sounds like solidarity with the country, not just its institutions of higher learning.

  23. while  

    the statement is not explicitly related to the strike, the timing is definitely strategic and is not simply coincidental.

    Also, faculty who signed this statement have since expressed interest in participating in the negotiation meetings now going on between students and administrators over the student demands.

  24. interesting that

    Prof Richard Bulliet isn't on the list, given his remarks RE: Prezbo following Ahmadinemania.

  25. re: famous  

    what about Spivak? bwog you forgot her.

  26. please clarify  

    "at a panel tonight lauding Massad's Desiring Arabs, hosted by the Heyman Institute, the professor noted that he was "personally grateful for this intervention.""

    He strongly suggested that the panel was an intervention to help reverse the tenure decision? What was the context? Thanks.

  27. Ahem

    To undergrads, trolls, and the politically naive-Grow Up!

    I don't care if you think that Bollinger's behavior during the Ahmadienjad fiasco was 'cool', or if you think that Bollinger making decisions without faculty consent is 'cool,' or whatever, but it's DAMAGING THE UNIVERSITY. INCLUDING THE BRAND EQUITY ON YOUR PRECIOUS LITTLE DIPLOMAS. Were you paying any attention to the media coverage Bollinger got on his stunt? Does it bother you that he was TRASHED by most of the media? That this humiliates a large portion of the student body who, for example, are going to Columbia to STUDY DIPLOMACY?

    For example, the faculty isn't necessarily attacking the Bush administration by saying that Bollinger's actions de facto support a drive for war or punitive sanctions on Iran. IT'S SAYING THAT BOLLINGER IS A COMPLETE POLITICAL IDIOT AND EGOMANIAC WHO HAS BEEN HUNG OUT TO DRY BY PEOPLE LIKE #$%@ MICHELLE MALKIN.

    Bollinger needs to go, folks. Hopefully this is the frst step towards a no-confidence vote so we can someone besides a DNC party hack running the University.

  28. the bwog sucks

    Really, it is not necessary to be flip about everything. It's not charming anymore. It's annoying.

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