CriticalThinking update on Univ. of Colorado Presidency, “Islamofascism Week II” and N.Y.U. Academic Freedom Conference

I received this press release from DefendCriticalThinking.org although I did some substantive as well as style editing:

Academic Freedom is Not Free: Resist Its Enemies!!

ACT IMMEDIATELY.

THE REGENTS ARE SCHEDULED TO VOTEN SELECTION OF A NEW C.U. PRESIDENT  ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13TH, THE SAME DAY THAT MISTER BRUCE BENSON WILL BE VISITING THE C.U.-BOULDER CAMPUS.  WE CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR HIM AGAIN.  ACTING THEN WILL BE TOO LATE.

1.      BENSON HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF ACTA, AN ORGANIZATION ON RECORD IN OPPOSITION TO SHARED GOVERNANCE AND FACULTY RIGHTS. 

Bruce  Benson is a member of ACTA’s Trustee’s Council;  he served as an ACTA (American College Trustees and Alumni) Trustee at Smith College.

Check out ACTA : 

http://www.goacta.org/about_acta/advisory.html  to create more “flexible” and “responsive” administrative structures by reducing the status (and even eliminate the requirement of a PhD) of top academic officers such as Deans, Department heads, and even, perhaps, Provosts. This already has happened at C.U.-Boulder; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, a post previously held by two tenured faculty members, was filled by a non-academic without faculty rank. The job description only required a BA degree. This “flattened” hierarchical structure already is being implemented Adams State and CSU, and it destroys the link between faculty and their academic leaders. No credible academic would take such a position without such protection. It’s more or less how WalMart operates. C.U. could be next.
2.      BENSON HAS VIOLATED THE CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS OF TENURED FACULTY.

Upon his installation as President of Metropolitan State University’s Board of Trustees, he had the Faculty Handbook completely re-written without discussion or consultation with  the faculty. (The person rumored to have done the job had previously re-written the management guide for  Quizno’s). In the new Faculty Handbook, the RIF (Reduction in Force) policy was changed so that in case of a financial shortfall (not exigency), rank or tenure no longer need be considered in decisions about elimination of teaching positions. He then fired tenured faculty. Metro faculty sued, and the case still is in the courts.  What would Benson do to further weaken faculty rights and due process at C.U.?
3.      BENSON COULD FURTHER DESTROY DUE PROCESS FOR FACULTY AND STAFF: 

Already seriously under attack, due process for faculty at C.U. has only a tenuous and unenforceable toehold in the Faculty Handbook.  That Handbook is only “advisory” to the administration, which does not have to abide by its policies.  Benson already has re-written at least one Faculty Handbook. Hank Brown’s administration made major changes in it as well-all to the detriment of faculty rights.  What steps would a President Benson take at C.U.? 
4.      BENSON HAS NO VISION. 

Benson’s ideas about C.U.’s mission are more appropriate for a public school system, a vocational school or a community college. It isn’t just that Benson has only a B.A. degree, a lack of qualifications entirely rare among University Presidents.  It’s that he has no intellectual or scholarly appreciation for what scientists and scholars do and the conditions needed for them to do their work effectively.
5.  BENSON DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF CU’S
MOST IMPORTANT RESEARCH INITIATIVES.

Benson is either woefully unaware or refuses to acknowledge the impact of the carbon cycle on Earth’s living systems. It was embarrassing to hear Benson cite the National Geographic and the local newspapers as authoritative sources on climate change, and express skepticism about the human role (now indisputable among environmental sciences from all disciplines) in global warming. How can he lead an institution that is striving to be climate neutral when, at both the student and faculty meetings, he claimed that humans and plants emit CO2 into the atmosphere too?  Does he really think that, when it comes to carbon, humans and plants are no different than cars and power plants? How can he preside credibly over C.U. when he doesn’t appear to believe in scientific initiatives for which C.U. faculty shared a Nobel Prize this very year????
6.   BENSON HAS NO APPROPRIATE EXPERIENCE.

Benson knows how to run an oil and gas exploration company.  Not a university. He understands corporate culture.  He is utterly uninformed about the culture and complexities of how to run a Tier One University. His actions at Metro were strictly corporate:  Fire expensive (full-time and tenured) employees with benefits and replace them with cheap (part-time and contingent) employees without benefits. It’s WalMart all over again.  We can expect the same kinds of “cost saving” actions if he becomes CU President.
7.      BENSON’S CLAIM THAT HE WOULD LEAVE ACADEMIC MATTERS
TO THE CAMPUS CHANCELLORS IS NOT COMFORTING.

Not given ACTA’s agenda for reorganizing universities. Chancellors are appointed by the University President; nothing would stop Benson from firing the current administrators and replacing them with people sympathetic to ACTA’s agenda.
8.      BENSON”S STATEMENTS ABOUT ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN THE
CLASSROOM AND RESEARCH ARE NOT CREDIBLE.

When he says-as he did at we need “sensible” research and professors who teach “what they are supposed to teach” in their classes) too closely resembles David Horowitz’s rhetoric about “balance” in teaching. For ACTA and Horowitz, those words are simply cover terms for conservative hegemony.
9.      BENSON HAS A RECORD OF DIVISIVE PARTISANSHIP. 

His Trailhead Organization spent $200,000 on negative and false attack campaigning against rancher Wes McKinley, state representative from SE Colorado and leader of opposition to the US Military takeover of the Pinon Canyon area.  Despite his promises to abandon Republican party activity, it’s unlikely that his modus operandi in dealing with opposition and dissent will change.
10.     BENSON’S RECORD OF SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IS POOR. 

He contributed at least $1000 to the defense fund of Senator Robert Packwood, who was accused-and convicted-of harassing and assaulting more than 20 women while in office. At meetings on campus, his only comment was that “everyone is entitled to a defense.” True enough, but given C.U.’s egregious record for protecting sexual harassers in the past, it doesn’t need another President who covers up and stonewalls for predators.
11.     BENSON DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT SUPPORT AMONG FACULTY, STUDENTS, STAFF AND THE REGENTS. 

A firestorm of protest already has erupted against both the process by which Benson was chosen, and his candidacy itself. Three current and one former (Jim Martin) Regent have openly opposed Benson for President of C.U. The Benson Presidency is being forced upon a University system that seems dead set against him, and humiliated not only by the fact that the Regents didn’t want to support anyone more qualified, but by being ignored.

Margaret LeCompte, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Member, Academic Freedom Group
President, C.U.-Boulder A.A.U.P. Chapter

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2. Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week II (April 7-11, 2008) Their slogan this time is “Stop the Genocide.” Here is the intro to their new student guide – the full thing can be downloaded here:
http://www.terrorismawareness.org/islamo-fascism-awareness-week/141/student-guide-to-islamo-fascism-awareness-week-ii/
We will of course be having a lot more to say soon about the latest round of this dangerous campaign to turn universities into sites of indoctrination. This is their stated purpose in basically supporting apartheid, mass-killings, colonisation and collective punishment against the stateless, oppressed and long suffering Arab peoples of Palestine:

“From October 22 to October 26, 2007, students on more than 100 campuses across the country hosted speakers, put on panels, conducted sit-ins and showed documentary films designed to alert campus communities to the global threat from Islamo-Fascism, and to protest the oppression of women in Islam. This spring, during the week of April 7-11, we will hold another week of consciousness-raising events. The purpose of this week and the campaign leading up to it will be:
1) To highlight the genocidal agendas of the Islamo-fascist crusade; and

2) To make the public aware of the “soft jihad” – the domestic networks that fund and provide political support for the agendas of the jihad, including its armies of terror. The core of the jihad is its intention to conquer and force into submission all religions and cultures which are not its own. It has absorbed the Nazi-virus of Jew-hatred and seeks as its first goal the obliteration of the Jewish state, but its agendas include the obliteration of Christian communities and all non-Muslim cultures as well.

The focus of our spring campaign will be the Declaration Against Genocide, which we will ask campus groups to sign. Specifically we are asking all campus groups to repudiate the genocidal passage within Islam’s sacred texts which reads: “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: ‘The time [of judgment and resurrection] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!'” (Sahih Muslim book 41, no. 6985)

Christians have distanced themselves from far less ominous passages in their religious tradition because of the terrible consequences that have flowed from misguided beliefs.

The terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah are Islamic parties who have dedicated themselves to the destruction of the Jews. We are asking campus groups to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations and to repudiate their Jew-hatred, including the Hamas charter which says: “Israel will exist and will continue to  exist until  Islam  will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Signers of the Declaration will also be asked to condemn and repudiate the Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has said “The accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.”

These are hateful doctrines that threaten the lives not only of Jews, but of Christians and secularists as well. While Israel is condemned as “the Little Satan,” America is targeted as “the Great Satan” – the incarnation of evil.  The genocidal hatred of Islamo-fascists is aimed at all Americans.

We are therefore launching a “Stop the Genocide” campaign which will be the focus of our activities this spring and the theme of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week on April 7-11. During this campaign, we will be calling on campus groups to affirm the equal dignity of all men and women and the right of all people to live free from violence, intimidation, and coercion.

To carry out the campaign of education and awareness, we will: Gather signatures for the Declaration Against Genocide. Ask campus groups to officially support it. Host speakers on the topic of Islamo-Fascism and its genocidal agendas Show documentaries and feature films including Islam versus Islam, Suicide Killers, Obsession and Path to 9/11 Hold memorials for the thousands of victims of Islamic radicals before and after 9/11 Distribute informational literature including the two pamphlets “Islamo-Fascism On Campus” and “Plan for Genocide” As the first Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week demonstrated, in the present campus climate this program is bound be controversial.  A coalition of groups with ties to the Islamo-fascist jihad are likely to protest this educational effort. This spring Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week will again test universities’ claims to be politically open and intellectually diverse. Once again our goal will be to refute the curriculum of the left, which teaches that America is the enemy in the war on terror and the terrorists are “freedom fighters,” and that any attempt to alert Americans to the dangers they face is “Islamo-phobia.” Once again our task will be to remind people that America is the only force in the world that has the power and the will to confront the threat of a global Islamo-Fascist state.

We expect that some universities will create impediments to the planned protests and events, refuse necessary permits or room reservations, and otherwise demonstrate their hypocrisy by failing to allow patriotic students a voice on campus.  We hope to be proven wrong, but past experience counsels otherwise. The David Horowitz Freedom Center will enlist lawyers and alumni to help student organizers fight these battles.”

Hopefully “impediments” will include the assertion that higher education is not at the service of the Israel Lobby and that propaganda hatred against a suffering people is not the mission of higher education and the pursuit of truth and critical thinking.

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3. Academic Freedom Teach-In at NYU Freedoms at Risk Conference and Teach-In.

     * Saturday, February 23, 2008
     * Kimmel 4th Floor-Eisner and Lubin Auditorium
     * 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

The CAS Student Council is proud to announce our biggest event of the  semester: the First National Teach-In on Freedoms at Risk in America!  Freedoms at Risk is an all-day, educational and interactive event featuring some of our nation’s foremost academics and intellectuals,  and students and faculty from both within and outside of the NYU  campus. We’ve reserved an entire floor of the Kimmel Center for  Student Life from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 23  for our Political and Academic Freedoms Teach-Ins and our evening Plenum, all of which will be completely open to thepublic throughout  the day!

A number of accomplished and controversial figures in politics and  academics will be sharing their experiences and thoughts, and  engaging in discussion and debate with audience members, including:    

* Norman Finkelstein, noted academic who has held faculty  positions at NYU, Rutgers University, and DePaul University where he  was recently a victim of academic repression, and author of five books including the international best-seller The Holocaust Industry:  Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, which has been  translated into twenty-four foreign languages
     *  Peter N. Kirstein, a professor of history at Chicago’s Saint  Xavier University, author, and a nationally-recognized advocate of  academic freedom and free-speech rights who has been profiled in  conservative writer David Horowitz’s book, The Professors: The 101  Most Dangerous Academics in America. Kirstein is the author of Anglo over Bracero.
     * Bertell Ollman, a Professor of Politics at NYU and two-time  victim of academic repression (University of Maryland and University  of the West Indies, Jamaica), who has written Dance of the Dialectic:  Steps in Marx’s Method and many other works.                 

     * Lynne Stewart, a widely recognized political activist and  attorney who is noted for representing unpopular clients, and has  experienced extensive recent political oppression; an advocate of the  constitutional right to due process of law, she fights
to see that  right extended to anyone who is tried within the American legal system
For other speakers: http://www.nyu.edu/cas/studentcouncil/events.shtml

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