Tag Archives: Academic Freedom

MIT drives Aaron Swartz to suicide, guards JSTOR for ivory tower and intel analysts only

RSS pioneer, Reddit cofounder and information activist Aaron Swartz, was found hanged this week. He was 26. Swartz was facing 35 years for hacking, aka liberating MIT research archives buried behind a pay-wall, often to the frustration of their own authors. You might think schools of higher learning are in favor of disseminating knowledge instead of confining studies in repositories. Aaron Swartz did. Swartz advocated for uninhibited access to information over the internet, in particular with scholarship often bought, paid for, and then buried by academic institutions. Swartz was charged with hacking into MIT’s JSTOR archives, in September 2011. They might have considered his motives, but instead pursued charges. MIT’s response to Swartz’s suicide was to direct anyone affected by his death to “Mental Health Services”.

Pentagon-loving corporate media says to pay no attention to real details about the Sgt. Bales led USA war crime


The news report yesterday, hidden away for the most part, was that Child witnesses to Afghan massacre say Robert Bales was not alone and read that the Afghan reporter who was reporting for the Australian press had also reported being impeded by the US military in her access to the war crime witnesses who were children. Here is what the child witnesses to the slaughter by Bales and his squad said to her…

‘In the video, the children told Hakim that other Americans were present during the rampage, holding flashlights in the yard. Noorbinak, 8, told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog. Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg.

“One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights,” Noorbinak said in the video.’

Now who are you dumb shit, American soldier uniform lovers going to believe here? Why the Pentagon, for sure, who calls the children liars! Right? So no need for the American media to even much discuss this event any more, you Flag waving dips have your minds made up already… and it’s all that Bales and the other soldier troopers are great heroes and what not, though no doubt it’s a shame that so many perhaps have been traumatized by their killing of foreigners who got in their way of career advancement through the vet Welfare Establishment…. blah, blah, blah. 10% off that hamburger and fries, Soldier Dear. Take this job right now, Mr. Vet Preference Dude. Got a back ache? Take some dope and here’s some disability right away no questions much asked… for life. We love you, Soldiers!

But Sgt Robert Bales and his squad seemed to have some anger control issues so they might be slapped on the wrist in the days ahead, and Bales might even have to serve a year or two in jail as Hero Man, while his comrades get the free walk, all thanks to the Big P of northern Virginia…Insurance Company for trailer trash heads who Uncle Sam recruits and turns into even worse criminals than the petty hoods they were in civilian life before.

(‘Now, Tony, you are being a tad bit disrespectful to our heroes who kill kids, so that you might have that nasty thing we all vet- soldier Right Wingers hate called Free Speech. Go live in Red China, Commie a-hole!’)

Oh, and that Black and White picture at the start of my bad? That was the American soldier men in uniform defending ‘free speech’ during the Vietnam War ‘error’…. at Kent State. If I only had a nickel for every dumb ass Right Winger vet, that has told me that they fight/ fought for American imperialism to supposedly defend my no existent right to Free Speech, I would be rich by now!

Judge Larry Naves mocks justice in Ward Churchill ruling

Judge Larry Naves Ward Churchill rulingYesterday Judge Larry Naves vacated the jury verdict in the Ward Churchill trial and refused to compel CU to reinstate Churchill saying that to do so would send a message to students that the University of Colorado “tolerates academic misconduct.” This, despite the fact that the jury found that charges of academic misconduct were made in order to silence Churchill without appearing to violate his free speech rights and wrongly fired him based on the trumped up charges.

The judge also failed to award any damages to Churchill, nor did he rule that CU must pay his legal fees. Further, Judge Naves’ 42-page ruling indicated that CU was a quasi-governmental body and, as such, should have been shielded from litigation to begin with.

Of course, Churchill attorney David Lane will appeal the ruling to a higher court, hopefully one that has more respect for the judicial system and the Constitution. This isn’t over, but how unfortunate that the bastard Judge Naves has prolonged the charade.

UCSB Hillel students Rebecca Joseph, Tova Hausman highlight poor education

Charges against Professor William RobinsonToday’s university campuses have to deal with College Republicans, ACTA and NeoMcCarthyists. The latest uneducable creeps shopped their leftist-professor- horror-story to the Anti-Defamation League, to brand their teacher’s criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic.” UCSB senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman both took exception to Professor William Robinson’s Sociology Listserv email comparing Israel’s mop up operation in Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. Below are the words they cut and pasted together to accuse Robinson.

The literacy level of these two students is probably on par for Twilight fans, but definitely unbecoming for the University of California system. The first letter is reputedly from a college senior. Rebecca Joseph‘s opening argument was plagiarized from the internet, but she continues to scold Professor Robinson for straying from her idea of what makes a university professor. The second complaint from UCSB junior Tova Hausman copies the first letter’s form, but adds the accusation of sexual misconduct for leaving her feeling raped.

Is it unfair to put simple college students under national scrutiny like this? From their own words they show themselves to be rather helpless. But what to do when students, or some unscrupulous backers, are taking aim at a respected tenured professor? It’s serious business. Organizations like ACTA and Hillel are out to enforce a veritable Right Wing PC rectitude. As if it’s politically incorrect to make fun of uneducated on campus!

Keeping educators silenced was easier during the Bush administration, but the dampers are still on Academic Freedom. Ward Churchill may have won his case in court against the University of Colorado, but opinionated faculty are still few and far between. The latest attack against William Robinson attempts to reinforce more of the same.

UCSB senior Rebecca JosephProbably by now Hillel is wishing they’d coaxed a better educated pair of students to face off against Robinson. The administrators who received the complaint letters should have earmarked the girls for a remedial English refresher in anticipation of their graduation. But let’s look beyond the cheap shots.

The accusations inarticulated here are scurrilous where they are not outright illogical. You be the judge.

First Student Complaint
Here’s the first complaint received by UCSB, from Rebecca Joseph, Vice-president of the Santa Barbara campus Orthodox Jewish Chabad. Interestingly, UCSB has a number of pro-Israel action groups: Hillel, Jewish Awareness Movement on Campus, American Students for Israel, Stand With Us, AIPAC and the Israeli Palestinian Film Festival (which judging by the lineup runs films only by un-self-critical Israelis and sympathetic Palestinians).

Here is Rebecca Joseph’s complaint, uncorrected.

To Whom It May Concern:

On Monday, january 19, at 1:02 pm, I received an email from Professor Robinson for the course Sociology of Globalization (Soc 130SG). The subject of the email was “Parallel images of Nazis and Israelis.” This email compared the aggression of the Nazis to the Jews in Germany, to that which is going on between Palestine and Israel today. Professor Robinson wrote the first three paragraphs including the following: “Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw…” In addition to his few words, he attached an email describing the comparison which goes on to another attachment showing pictures to prove his point.

This email shocked me; before I did anything I gave him the benefit of the doubt and emailed him back asking, “I just wanted to know what this information was for? Is it for some assignment or just information that you put out there for us?” His response was “Rebecca, just for your interest….. I should have clarified.”

At this point I felt nauseous that a professor could use his power to send this email with his views attached, to each student in his class. To me this overstepped the boundaries of a professor and his conduct in a system of higher education. Due to this horrific email I had to drop the course. being a senior and needing any classes I could get, this left me in need of more classes which added more stress.

Two weeks later I saw a friend that was in the course with me and I asked him if it was ever brought up in class or discussed even for a brief minute or two, he responded by telling me that he never even mentioned it in class and that he too would have dropped the course, but he needed it to graduate on time.

Anti Semitism is considered to be hatred toward Jews –individually and as a group– that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity. An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticism of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character. The demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy.

I found these parallel images intimidating, disgusting, and beyond a teacher role as an educator in the university system. I feel that something must be done so other students don’t have to go through the same intimidating, disgust I went through. I was asked to speak to him and get him to apologize but I feel that it will not make a difference for future students of his.

Whatever the outcome may be, I am hoping for some apology from Robinson, for not only my self and but for my peers in the class as well. In addition I would like to see more happen then just an apology because he has breached the University’s Code of Conduct for Professors and that this issue must be dealt with immediately.

In the Faculty Code of Conduct in Part II, Professional Responsibilities, Ethical Principles, and Unacceptable Faculty conduct, in Section A, Teaching and Students, it states that “The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is the foundation of the University’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the faculty member, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as mentor, educator, and evaluator.”

However Professor Robinson has turned away from his professional responsibilities through his “significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course.” (Part II, Section A, Number 1, b). He has also violated the universities policy by “participating in or deliberately abetting disruption, interference, or intimidation in the classroom,” (Part II, Section A, Number 5). Robinson has done so through this intimidating email which had pushed me to withdraw from this course and take another one.

In the University System professors above all, are to be “effective teachers and scholars,” Robinson has gone against his rights as a professor at the university through his, “unauthorized use of University resources or facilities on a significant scale for personal, commercial, political, or religious purposes,” (Section II, Section C, Number 3). Robinson used his university resources, to email each student in this course to get his view across, in doing so; he became a representation of the faculty members of the University of California Santa Barbara. The code of conduct state that, “faculty members have the same rights and obligations as all citizens. They are as free as other citizens to express their views and to participate in the political process of the community. When they act or speak in their personal and private capacities, they should avoid deliberately creating the impression that they represent the University.” By Robinson using his university email account he attaches his thoughts with that of the university and they become a single entity sharing the same ideas.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of this matter and I am hoping to here [sic] back in the near future.

Thank you,

Rebecca Joseph

Junior Tova Hausman accused UCSB professor William Robinson of being anti-SemiticSecond student complaint
The second letter, which cribs from the first obviously, was sent by UCSB junior Tova Hausman. At least she credits the US State Dept as the source of her definition of “anti-Semitism.” But Hausman adds the accusation of sexual impropriety, taking a page it seems from David Mamet’s Oleanna.

February 19, 2009

To whom it may concern,

My name is Tova Hausman, and I was enrolled in Professor William Robinson’s Sociology 130 SG course this Winter 2009. The course was called Social Globalization. Our class received an email in the second week of class, from the professor, called “Parallel images of Nazis and Israelis.” It discussed the parallel acts and images between Nazi Germany during World War II and the present day Israelis. He claims that what the Nazis did to the Jews during the war is parallel to what Israel is doing to Palestine right now. Professor Robinson clearly stated his anti Semitic political views in this email that were unjust and unsolicited. The department of states 2004 definition of anti-Semitism: Anti Semitism is considered to be hatred toward Jews –individually and as a group– that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity. An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticism of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character. The demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy……

In all the years of schooling and higher education I have never experienced an abuse of an educator position. Taking the opportunity to disseminate personal political views through obtaining email addresses of the class roster that are only for academic use, show betrayal and complete abuse of powers by the professor. To hide behind a computer and send this provocative email shows poor judgment and perhaps a warped personality. The classroom and the forum of which higher education is presented needs to be safe and guarded so the rights of individuals are respected. handle

To express one’s political views is not necessarily wrong but here it was not relevant to the subject matter. How could one continue to participate in this professor’s class? The fact that the professor attached his views to the depiction of what my great grandparents and family experienced shows lack of sensitivity and awareness. What he did was criminal because he took my trust and invaded something that is very personal. I felt as if I have been violated by this professor. Yes I am aware of Anti-Semites, but to abuse this position in an environment of higher education where I always thought it to be safe, until now, is intimidating.

This professor should be stopped immediately from continuing to disseminate this information and be punished because his damage is irreversible. He abused his privilege to teach, to lead, and to mentor.

Bellow is a list of the faculty code of conduct in which I believe Professor Robinson violated:

Part I — Professional Rights of Faculty
2. the right to present controversial material relevant to a course of instruction.

Part II — Professional Responsibilities, Ethical Principles, and Unacceptable Faculty Conduct
A. Teaching and Student

The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is the foundation of the University’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the faculty member, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as mentor, educator, and evaluator. The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heighten the vulnerability of the student and the potential for coercion. The pedagogical relationship between faculty member and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning consistent with the goals and ideals of the University. Whenever a faculty member is responsible for academic supervision of a student, a personal relationship between them of a romantic or sexual nature, even if consensual, is inappropriate. Any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.

1. Failure to meet the responsibilities of instruction, including:
(b) significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course;

2. Discrimination, including harassment, against a student on political grounds, or for reasons of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, medical condition, status as a covered veteran, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulation, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons.

5. Participating in or deliberately abetting disruption, interference, or intimidation in the classroom.

Types of unacceptable conduct:

B. Scholarship
Violation of canons of intellectual honesty, such as research misconduct and/or intentional misappropriation of the writings, research, and findings of others.

C. University
3. Unauthorized use of University resources or facilities on a significant scale for personal, commercial, political, or religious purposes.

E. The Community Ethical Principles.
“Faculty members have the same rights and obligations as all citizens. They are as free as other citizens to express their views and to participate in the political processes of the community. When they act or speak in their personal and private capacities, they should avoid deliberately creating the impression that they represent the University.” (U.C. Academic Council Statement, 1971)

I expect this matter to be looked into and wish to be contacted soon.

Thank you,

Tova Hausman

Well let’s make a point to contact this McCarthy wannabe. These are crummy students fancying themselves campus sanitizers for Israel. What contemptible innuendo and vacuous indignation! The two students reportedly approached the Simon Wiesenthal Center, where they were advised to work through the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.

Abraham FoxmanLetter sent from the ADL
Pressure then came from Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman who visited the campus in a covert meeting to recommend the immediate reprimand of Professor Robinson. (Foxman even had these words for the Gaza analysis offered by Bill Moyers.)

February 9, 2009

William I. Robinson
Professor of Sociology
Global and international Studies
Latin American and Iberian Studies
University of California – Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Dear Professor Robinson:

We have received complaints that on January 19, 2009, you sent an email to a number of your student entitled “parallel images of Nazis and Israelis.” If this allegation is true, ADL strongly condemns the views expressed in your email and urges you to unequivocally repudiate them.

While your writings are protected by the First Amendment and academic freedom, we rely upon our own rights to say that your comparisons of Nazis and Israelis were offensive, a historical and have crossed the line well beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.

In our view, no accurate comparison can be made between the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews. Nor can Israeli actions or policies be fairly characterized as acts of ethnic cleansing or genocide. Unlike the Holocaust (and to more recent examples of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Rwanda and Kosovo), there is no Israeli ideology, policy or plan to persecute, exterminate or expel the Palestinian population — nor has there ever been. In direct contrast, the Nazis’ “final solution” to the “Jewish problem” was the deliberate, systematic and mechanized extermination of European Jewry. Hitler’s “final Solution” led to the calculated, premeditated murder of six million Jews and the destruction of thriving Jewish communities across Europe.

We also think it is important to note that the tone and extreme views presented in your email were intimidating to students and likely chilled thoughtful discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Clearly, that is antithetical to the very purpose of the academy. Finally, using your university email address to send out material that appears unrelated to your Globalization of Sociology course likely violates numerous parts of the University of Santa Barbara Faculty Code of Conduct (see, for example, Part I, 2; Part II, A, 1, b; Part II, C, 3; Part II, E, 1).

Again, ADL strongly condemns the views expressed in the January 19, 2009 email and we urge you to unequivocally repudiate them.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Silverman
Santa Barbara Regional Director
Anti-Defamation League

Cc:
Department Chair, Verta Dean
Chancellor, Henry T. Yang
President, Mark G. Yudof

Martin Scharlemann, University of California at Santa BarbaraEmail from UCSB Charges Officer:
Instead of dismissing the dubious accusations, the school is convening an investigation. But not without impropriety on the part of the Charges Officer Martin Scharlemann. Prof. Scharlemann insisted that Robinson produce a written refutation BEFORE he would reveal the formal accusations leveled by the two students. Read the formidable exchanges at the website mounted by the UCSB students and faculty rallying to Robinson’s defense.

Charges Officer E-mail Re: Charges

Professor Robinson,

Responding to your memo of 3 April, here is a summary of the allegations:

* You, as professor of an academic course, sent to each student enrolled in that course a highly partisan email accompanied by lurid
photographs.

* The email was unexpected and without educational context.

* You offered no explanation of how the material related to the content of the course.

* You offered no avenue to discuss, nor encouraged any response, to the opinions and photographs included in the email.

* You directly told a student who inquired that the email was not connected to the course.

* As a result, two enrolled students were too distraught to continue with the course.

* The constellation of allegations listed above, if substantially true, may violate the Faculty Code of Conduct.

In the (”not exhaustive”) list of examples included with that Faculty Code of Conduct, the most proximate are part II, A. 1. b and A. 4.

On the other matters you raise, while my conversation with the students was confidential, I can tell you that I did not advise them to seek an “apology” from you. And yes, I did offer you an opportunity “if you wish” to provide a written response to the complaint before I met with the Charges Advisory Committee, which is solely vested with the authority to dismiss a complaint as frivolous and unfounded.

-Martin Scharlemann

Dan ChinitzAnd from the internets…
And let’s not overlook the attempts to initiate an email campaign to bring public pressure on UCSB to reprimand Professor Robinson. A commenter to this blog linked to a website advocating a form email to convey (our) universal indignation over the anti-Semitism at UCSB. The form letter is suggested by “anonymous” (possibly Alvin Black aka Dr. Mike) and he recommended signing it “Name withheld to protect privacy.” We reprint the opening and closing here:

Dear Chancellor Yang,

As I am sure you know, several months ago, Professor William I. Robinson, a self described “scholar -activist” and professor of Sociology and Global Studies at your university, forwarded an email to his students condemning Israel. The email contained images of Nazi atrocities along with images from Israel’s defensive campaign against Hamas’s terror. This comparison is considered by both the US State Dept and the European Union, in their working paper on anti-Semitism, to cross the line into anti-Semitism. This email was so disturbing to at least two students that they felt compelled to drop his class. Because of the nature of the emails, the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the UCSB Academic Senate’s Charges Committee have become involved.

[…etc…]

And thus the Arab world’s war against Israel becomes a nation-wide campus war against Jews.

Professor Robinson seems to have chosen to join the ranks of these “erstwhile defenders.”

I most sincerely urge you, therefore, to draw a line in the sand. The university should not be a promoter of Jew-hatred, nor an inciter of violence.

Sincerely yours,

Name withheld to protect privacy

Anonymity
Isn’t that what this post is about actually? We’ve aggregated the criticisms flying against Professor Robinson, but most notably this article seeks to expose the UCSB students who led the faceless attack against Professor Robinson.

Until the Los Angeles Times revealed their names today, the identities of both Joseph and Hausman had been concealed. Even the specific complaints they brought against Robinson were kept secret from the accused himself. Now, what kind of people insist on slandering others from the shadows?

At NMT, we make ourselves known, while many of our detractors do not. We could not care less, but if apologists for Israel’s crimes consider themselves in the right, why do they hide behind aliases?

If you support Israel’s “right to defend itself” by breaking international conventions and committing war crimes, stand up and say it. If you think Israel has every right to take the land of the Palestinians and keep it, Goddamn it come out from behind your creepy disguises and say it. If you’re going to impugn others for whatever false transgression, without the courage to reveal yourself, do you expect anyone to accord you credibility?

If you are going to condemn the Palestinians of Gaza for exercising their basic human right to resist an illegal foreign invasion and occupation of their land, you better have the nerve to say it publicly. Cowards.

Ward Churchill is not guilty of academic misconduct

Marie Walden and Ward ChurchillLiterary theorist and legal scholar, Stanley Fish, weighs in on the report of the “committee of faculty peers” that found Ward Churchill guilty of academic misconduct.
 
“The verdict did not surprise me because I had read the committee’s report and found it less an indictment of Churchill than an example of a perfectly ordinary squabble about research methods and the handling of evidence.”

“The accusations that fill its pages are the kind scholars regularly hurl at their polemical opponents. It’s part of the game. But in most cases, after you’ve trashed the guy’s work in a book or a review, you don’t get to fire him. Which is good, because if the standards for dismissal adopted by the Churchill committee were generally in force, hardly any of us professors would have jobs.”

In the New York Times column, Fish concludes his Churchill-exonerating analysis by claiming that he doesn’t question the integrity of the committee leading the witch hunt, excusing their dishonesty with “they just got caught up in a circus that should have never come to town.”

Apparently Stanley Fish didn’t see any of the lying douchenozzles on the stand, or read their vomit-inducing 125-page report trashing Ward Churchill’s 30-year stint as polemicist laureate. Still, I appreciate Mr. Fish setting the record straight: Ward Churchill is not guilty of academic misconduct. I hope David Lane, Ward’s wildly fabulous attorney, is gearing up to sue the stuffing out of the next bastard who publicly claims he is.

Boulder Daily Camera editorial and CU campus Colorado Daily are unanimous

Bill Ayers and Ward Churchill
BOULDER- All the Denver TV news vans were standing by as Ward Churchill retook the CU campus podium. Local coverage of the Glenn Miller Ballroom event was front page and immediate, in both the students’ Colorado Daily and the Boulder Daily Camera. The surprise wasn’t just that the articles were unflattering, but that they were the exact same.

I’m sure it’s not news to the CU students that their free campus paper is none other than the reformatted local daily. You might wonder which is the more student-inclined. The news section of the student paper is titled CU AND THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC, as if to differentiate the student body from their “Leftist” township. The same article in the local daily Bill Ayers backs Ward Churchill, was retitled NOTORIOUS DISSENTER BACKS UP EMBATTLED PROF for the kids.

Keep in mind, this is not the work of the students.

While it might look perfectly transparent to publish a student-focused edition, full of campus-life related ads, what would be the purpose of two distinct internet facades for the same content? If not to reinforce the notion that the editorial content was distinct.

Maybe the TWIN DAILIES reporters had time enough only to write their articles before hearing the speeches, because their stories reflected none of the convivial humanism presented by all the guests. The other article published the next morning was: Crowd faces tight security for Ayers, Churchill talk at CU. A follow-up article the next day was more in depth, but not about the subject of Thursday’s event, neo-McCarthyism. The Saturday article redraws the battle lines of the Churchill-CU dispute. If you’d like to judge for yourself, both do have a video of the Thursday Forbidden Education rally.

Pretense of separate publications is dropped when you click Full local coverage of Ward Churchill and his trial against CU, where you get all the accruing coverage courtesy of the BOULDER DAILY CAMERA.

The only real alternative news in Boulder comes through the Boulder Weekly. But neither is it student run.

By its actions against Ward Churchill, and certainly by its grip on student communication, the CU administration appears bent on rotting Boulder’s promise of higher education from its academic core.

Americans still resist being called Nazis

Ward ChurchillAmericans still resist being told they are Nazis. LOL. Ward Churchill’s “little Eichmann” reference was made in 2001. You would think subsequent events have shown that Churchill was barking up the right towers.
 
A context which Churchill clarified at his Thursday night appearance, was that his initial argument had been that using our own DoD’s criteria for what qualifies as a legitimate military target (command and control, communication, intelligence, etc), the WTC was a fully appropriate target for those fighting US subjugation.