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How Obama's Alma Mater Treated an Iraq War Vet
By Larry Elder
March 3, 2011

Columbia's Dishonor
By Bob McManus
February 21, 2011

Hero's Unwelcome
By Annie Karni
February 20, 2011

Forum at Columbia University Whitewashes UN and Arab States
By Brendan Goldman
October 13, 2009

Ahmadinejad's Academics
By Cinnamon Stillwell
July 9, 2009

An Extreme Case at Columbia
By Martin Kramer
April 26, 2009

Columbia Set to Crash
By Martin Kramer
April 23, 2009

Columbia Spectator: Abuses in the Classroom
By Kim Kirschenbaum
April 22, 2009

Will Columbia Tenure Joseph Massad?
By Winfield Myers
April 15, 2009

Too Late to Stop Massad?
By Martin Kramer
April 15, 2009

Massad's Alcohol Analysis
By Martin Kramer
April 14, 2009

The Hypocrisy of Massad
By Martin Kramer
April 13, 2009

Untenable: Bullying Columbia Professor Does Not Deserve Lifetime Employment
By New York Daily News Editorial
April 13, 2009

Joseph Massad Update
By David Bernstein
April 12, 2009

More Massad Mystery at Harvard
By Martin Kramer
April 12, 2009

Tenure for Joseph Massad?
By Martin Kramer
April 10, 2009

Columbia University, Slumlord
By Jonathan V. Last
November 29, 2008

Self-induced Nakba
By Philip Carl Salzman
October 15, 2008

Muftis of Morningside Heights
By Martin Kramer
October 13, 2008

Why Won't Obama Talk about Columbia?
By Andrew C. McCarthy
October 7, 2008

Lee Bollinger's Policy
By Scott
September 26, 2008

Columbia University Mideast Studies Professor Blames West for Gays in Muslim Lands
By Ed Lasky
June 9, 2008

More Insanity from Columbia University
By Jaime Sneider
June 9, 2008

Fantasizing “The New McCarthyism”
By Phil Orenstein
May 22, 2008

The Spirit of '68
By Rich Lowry
May 8, 2008

Columbia to Mark "Catastrophe"
By Jewish Telegraphic Agency
April 28, 2008

Confusion at Columbia
By Marter Kramer
March 10, 2008

Columbia's Israel Problem
By Charlotte Allen
March 7, 2008

Columbia's Israelis
By Martin Kramer
February 25, 2008

Ahmadinejad's Academic Pilgrims
By Robert Spencer
January 17, 2008

Columbia Profs to Visit Iran to Apologize to Ahmadinejad, Reports Say
By Patrick Goodenough
January 9, 2008

Columbia Professors To Apologize to Ahmadinejad
By Peter Kiefer
January 9, 2008

Columbia Professors Plan to Visit Iran to Apologize to Ahmadinejad
By Winfield Myers
January 8, 2008

Columbia Professors Plan to Visit Iran to Apologize to Ahmadinejad
By MehrNews.com
January 8, 2008

New Professor, Same Old Anti-Israel Agenda at the Columbia Anthropology Department
By Jonathan Schwartz
December 19, 2007

S&M, Ivy League Style
By Miriam Grossman, M.D.
December 14, 2007

Columbia's Concern
By John McCormack
November 29, 2007

Columbia's Latest Embarrassment
By Joel Mowbray
November 27, 2007

The "Free Speech" Agenda
By Alan M. Dershowitz
November 21, 2007

Hatemonger U? Columbia May Tenure Extremist.
By Richard Miniter
November 20, 2007

Greatest Victory, Even in Defeat
By Paula Stern
November 15, 2007

Academic Freedom Still an Issue
By Tom Faure
November 15, 2007

The French Revolution Returns to Columbia
By Phyllis Chesler
November 13, 2007

Tearing Down the Berlin Wall of the American Campus
By Elliot Resnick
November 1, 2007

Bollinger and His Faculty, Poor Fella
By Jamie Kirchick
October 31, 2007

Heralds of the Second Secular Coming: AKA as Fools at the Midnight Hour
By Phyllis Chesler
October 30, 2007

It's Time to Take the Campus Back
By Phyllis Chesler
October 30, 2007

Bollinger Reaffirms Stance on Ahmadinejad
By Melissa Repko
October 29, 2007

Dangerous Ideas
By Phyllis Chesler
October 26, 2007

Free Speech for Terrorists
By Christopher B. Lacaria
October 25, 2007

Islamo-Fascism Week Kicks Off
By Joy Resmovits
October 25, 2007

Wake Up!
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
October 24, 2007

Deja Vu at Columbia
By Hillel Halkin
October 23, 2007

Who’s Afraid of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week?
By David Horowitz
October 16, 2007

Columbia Professor Calls Bollinger White Supremacist
By Annie Karni
October 15, 2007

Mahmud Takes Manhattan!
By Burt Prelutsky
October 15, 2007

Nazi Youth at Columbia
By Mary Grabar
October 14, 2007

What Does the First Amendment Require?
By William Rusher
October 11, 2007

God and Ahmadinejad at Columbia: Supreme Leader Sees God's Hand in Speech
By CNSNews.com Staff
October 4, 2007

When Lee Met Mahmoud
By Dennis Prager
October 2, 2007

Columbia, Duke and the Media
By Thomas Sowell
October 2, 2007

The Tough-Guy Liberal
By Harvey Mansfield
October 2, 2007

The University Madhouse
By Victor Davis Hanson
October 1, 2007

Ideology over Integrity in Academe
By James R. Russell
Fall 2007

Was Bollinger Mean to Ahmadinejad?
By Mona Charen
September 28, 2007

Speech Disorder
By Jonah Goldberg
September 28, 2007

Bollinger: ‘Free Speech At Its Best'
By Annie Karni
September 27, 2007

Columbia's Loss
By Ralph Peters
September 27, 2007

Tase Him, Bro!
By Ann Coulter
September 26, 2007

Mahmoudapalooza: The Good, The Bad And The Craven
By Michelle Malkin
September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad Benefits from Petty Insults
By Barry Farber
September 26, 2007

Columbia Prez Should Have Stood Up for America, too
By Ed Koch
September 26, 2007

Notes on an Outrage
By P. David Hornik
September 26, 2007

Columbia's Arrogant, Ignorant Decision
By Ben Shapiro
September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad on Broadway
By Jonathan Tobin
September 26, 2007

Bollinger the Coward?
By Sam Schulman
September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad and the Suicidal Left
By Tony Blankley
September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad - and How to Beat Him
By Rich Galen
September 26, 2007

Columbia: Why Are You So Stupid?
By Austin Byrd
September 26, 2007

Columbia: Same Idiots, Useful as Ever
By Mary Katharine Ham
September 25, 2007

On The Spot: Should Congress Make Taxpayers Subsidize Columbia University?
By Nathan Burchfiel and Kevin Mooney
September 25, 2007

A Maniac in Morning Side Heights
By Jacob Laksin
September 25, 2007

Propaganda Coup
By Alan W. Dowd
September 25, 2007

Of Free Speech And Academic "Progressives"
By Bill Murchison
September 25, 2007

Intolerance in the Name of Tolerance
By Cal Thomas
September 25, 2007

Columbia University's Selective First Amendment Affinity
By David Limbaugh
September 25, 2007

Getting Tough in the Ivy League
By Wesley Pruden
September 25, 2007

Lee Bollinger, Tough Guy
By Wall Street Journal
September 24, 2007

Hitler’s Muslim Nephew Comes to New York
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
September 24, 2007

Mistake to Give Ahmadinejad Platform to Spew Hatred, Israel Says
By Julie Stahl
September 24, 2007

Columbia Alumnus Freed in Iran in Advance of Ahmadinejad's Speech
By Susan Jones
September 24, 2007

Columbia and Ahmadinejad: The New Woodward and Bernstein
By Lisa De Pasquale
September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad Is In, ROTC Is Out
By Dinesh D'Souza
September 24, 2007

Eyewitness to Nonsense
By Lisa Schiffren
September 24, 2007

The Iran Exception
By Rich Lowry
September 24, 2007

Aid and Comfort by Any Other Name
By David J. Feith & Jordan C. Hirsch
September 23, 2007

Ahmadinejad Arrives for New York Visit
By NewsMax.com
September 23, 2007

Columbia's Disgrace
By Hugh Hewitt
September 21, 2007

Ground Zero Is Not for Crashing
By Wesley Pruden
September 21, 2007

Monday Mission for Columbia Students
By The NRO Editors
September 21, 2007

Engel 'Disappointed' by Ford Forum for Mearsheimer
By Annie Karni
September 10, 2007

A Columbia/Barnard 'Dirty Deal'?
By Candace de Russy
August 1, 2007

Barnard's Shame and Columbia's Dirty Deal [on Nadia Abu El-Haj]
By Paula R. Stern
July 27, 2007

Joseph Massad and Nadia Abu El Haj at Columbia/Barnard
By Emmet Trueman
July 27, 2007

Dead White Men
By Emmet Trueman
May 3, 2007

Columbia Coddles Campus Fascists
By David Horowitz
March 27, 2007

Bringing the Military to Columbia
By Matt Sanchez
March 21, 2007

Complex Thought and the Middle East [on Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad]
By Marc Arkovitz
March 19, 2007

Mad Max: An Inherited Genetic Disorder Returns
By David Horowitz
March 8, 2007

Columbia Charges Students with Violating Protest Rules
By Karen W. Arenson
December 23, 2006

Hypocrisy at Columbia
By Matt Sanchez
December 6, 2006

Columbia University's Political Agendas
By Jacob Laksin
December 1, 2006

Minutemen Press Columbia to Probe Riot
By WorldNetDaily.com
November 30, 2006

Academia's Plague of Lame 'Leaders'
By Abby Wisse Schachter
November 29, 2006

Censorship U
By John Leo
November 21, 2006

Poison Ivy
By Douglas Feiden
November 6, 2006

Columbia U’s Fanatical Professor
By Robert Fulford
November 2, 2006

Minutemen or the Mullahman
By Mary Katharine Ham
October 16, 2006

Columbia's Censorship, Act 2
By Jacob Laksin
October 16, 2006

Thought Control at Columbia
By Robert Shibley and Greg Lukianoff
October 16, 2006

Columbia University and the Liberal Prude Police
Jason Antebi
October 10, 2006

Columbia Invites Ahmadinejad to Speak
By Jacob Gershman
September 21, 2006

Columbia University Middle East Studies Information
By Campus Watch
June 2006

Columbia Partner In Gadhafi Parley Has Grim History
by Josh Gerstein
March 27, 2006

Latest Columbia Teacher, Gadhafi, Seeks To Justify His Crackdown
By Azi Paybarah
March 24, 2006

Bad Decision 101. Columbia Embraces Qadhafi - And So Do We
By Mohamed Eljahmi
March 21, 2006

Crisis at Columbia
By Hugh Fitzgerald 
March 6, 2006

Smoldering Fires at Columbia
By Sol Stern
March 2, 2006

Nine Professors At Columbia Are 'Dangerous'
By Alec Magnet
February 21, 2006

All You Need to Know About Joseph Massad of Columbia
By David Bernstein
February 9, 2006

Martyrs Get Tenure at Columbia?
By Martin Kramer
February 8, 2006

Massad Wins Promotion at Columbia
By Alec Magnet
February 7, 2006

"A Million Mogadishus" 101
By Chris Kulawik
February 6, 2006

Columbia U. Accused of Anti-Military Bias
By NewsMax.com
February 1, 2006

Former Columbia Student: Massad's Bullying, Anti-Israel Stance Led Her To Drop Out
By Alec Magnet
January 13, 2006

Suffering in Silence at Columbia
By Martin Kramer
January 10, 2006

Columbia's Hysterical Arabist: Zainab Bahrani
By Hugh Fitzgerald
January 3, 2006

MEALAC Controversy Lies Low for Fall Semester
By Lisa Hirschmann
November 10, 2005

Philistine at Columbia
By Martin Kramer
November 9, 2005

Crisis at Columbia: Nadia Abu El-Haj
By Hugh Fitzgerald
October 10, 2005

Israel Studies: One Solution to Classroom Bias
By Samuel G. Freedman
September 8, 2005

Selling Jihad
By Hugh Fitzgerald
September 2, 2005

MESA Jumps in Massad's Trench
By Martin Kramer
August 23, 2005

What's Up at Columbia?
By Robert David (KC) Johnson
August 8, 2005

Is Zionism Colonialism? The Root Lie
By Martin Kramer
August 1, 2005

New Challenge to Columbia and to Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Cockburn
By Alan Dershowitz
July 13, 2005

Columbia and the Academic Intifada 
By Efraim Karsh
July 2005

Columbia Teaches "Hate"
By Hugh Fitzgerald
June 6, 2005

Horowitz Addresses His Alma Mater
By Lisa Hirschmann
May 3, 2005

Columbia Mideast Institute Honors Anti-Semitic Poet
By Little Green Footballs
April 20, 2005

The Columbian Cartel
By Stefan Kanfer
April 18, 2005

What Columbia Should Do Now
By Bary Rosenblatt
April 15, 2005

Letter Shows Dean Backed Massad
By Jacob Gershman
April 15, 2005

That Awful Mess on Morningside Heights
By Hugh Fitzgerald
April 14, 2005

Time to Divest . . . From Columbia
By James Gennaro
April 13, 2005

The Columbia University Report on its Middle Eastern Department's Problems: A Methodological Paradigm for Obscuring Structural Flaws
By Noah Liben
April 13, 2005

Conduct Unbecoming
By Paul Mirengoff
April 11, 2005

Whitewash at Columbia
By Ron Lewenberg
April 6, 2005

Saudis Funded Columbia Program at Institute that Trained Teachers 
By Jacob Gershman
March 10, 2005

Mideast Parley Takes Ugly Turn at Columbia U. 
By Sol Stern and Fred Siegel
February 4, 2005

Columbia University's Hysterical Professor
By Daniel Pipes
December 1, 2004

Bollinger's Blindness
By The New York Sun 
October 22, 2004

Columbia Takes What Harvard Shuns
By Jacob Gershman
August 5, 2004

To the President of Columbia University
By Arnold M. Zeiderman
June 3, 2004

Columbia U. Releases Edward Said Chair Donors: Names Arab Government
By Campus Watch
March 26, 2004

Columbia U’s Newest Anti-Zionist
By Jacob Gershman
February 3, 2004

Secrets, Donors and the Edward Said Chair
By Jonathan Calt Harris
November 19, 2003

The Unpatriotic U: Columbia
By John Perazzo
November 4, 2003

Concealment Continues at Columbia
By Martin Kramer
September 9, 2003

Graduation Present: It’s Not 1968 at Columbia Anymore
By Ron Lewenberg
May 9, 2003

Moment of Truth (For the Anti-American Left)
By David Horowitz
March 31, 2003

Columbia U's Radical Middle East Faculty
By Alyssa Lappen and Jonathan Calt Harris
March 18, 2003

Columbia Sponsors Genocidal Film
By Columbia College Conservative Club
January 24, 2003

Being Lee Bollinger
By Matthew Continetti 
September 26, 2002

 


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In recent years, Columbia University has been beset by a succession of high-profile scandals. Most notoriously, in March of 2003, assistant professor Nicholas DeGenova provoked national outrage when he wished for “a million Mogadishus” at an anti-war teach-in on the Columbia campus and told Columbia students that “U.S. patriotism is inseparable from imperial warfare and white supremacy,” and that “[t]he only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military.”

The following year, Columbia’s name would again become identified with academic extremism, when the David Project, a pro-Israel group, produced a documentary titled “Columbia Unbecoming,” which featured several students and former students in Columbia's department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) recounting incidents of political sermonizing, personal harassment and general intolerance they experienced at the hands of Columbia faculty. According to the students, professors used their courses to vent their political venom against Israel and “Zionism,” treating Israeli-Arab relations as a closed subject rather than as an academic question, in the process fostering a culture of academic intimidation.

Disdain for intellectual diversity expressed itself more thuggishly in October of 2006 at Columbia when the founder of an anti-illegal immigration group, the Minuteman Project, was driven off the stage of the school's Roone auditorium and prevented from speaking by a mob of student demonstrators. Recalling the campus excesses of the 1960s, when Columbia’s student protesters had to be evicted from Low Library by armed police, the students first shouted the speaker, Jim Gilchrist, down, then slandered him as a “racist,” and finally mobbed the stage, shutting down the event. One student protester articulated the group’s anti-intellectual, anti-democratic attitude, saying of anyone who shared Gilchrist’s views – that immigrants to the United States should be admitted through a legal process: “They have no right to be able to speak here.”

While it may be tempting to view these as isolated incidents, they did not occur in vacuum. These non-academic, politically determined agendas have made their way into the heart of the liberal arts curriculum at Columbia. Entire departments and numerous courses have ceased to observe a scholarly discipline. Controversial points of view are no longer analyzed and dissected but are instilled as a received doctrine instead. One-sided reading lists buttress the equally one-sided lectures of professors who behave like political activists instead of academics. Both traditional academic disciplines, like anthropology (DeGenova’s field) and inter-disciplinary subjects like African American studies have been conscripted into the service of Marxism and its ideological variants. In far too many subjects and courses at Columbia, indoctrination has taken the place of education.
 
To achieve this result, faculty activists have had to violate (and administrators have had to ignore) the explicit obligations of professors to act as educators and not political activists, which are codified in Columbia's “Statement on Professional Ethics and Faculty Obligations and Guidelines for Review of Professional Misconduct.” This document states that while faculty members have the freedom to decide what they teach, so too do they have a “correlative obligation of responsible self-discipline.” More precisely:
 
Every effort must…be made to be accurate, to be objective, to demonstrate appropriate restraint, and to show respect for the opinions of others. Faculty members may not enroll or refuse to enroll students on the basis of those students' beliefs, or otherwise discriminate arbitrarily or capriciously among them of students and awards of grade and credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged, not on matters extraneous to that performance; grades and other evaluations shall be provided to the University promptly as required for each student, for each class.
 
These obligations find additional support in Columbia's Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure, which stipulates that professors are granted the academic freedom “in the classroom in discussing their subjects,” but that concurrently “they should bear in mind the special obligations arising from their position in the academic community.”

As an inquiry into Columbia's curriculum reveals, many professors - along with many departments and affiliated programs -- fail to maintain an academic discipline and instead promote political and ideological agendas which have little to do with the educational mission or the professional expertise that Columbia is supposed to provide. Many courses require students to read texts that present but one side of controversial and contentious matters. Still others require students to become political activists and condition their grades on the extent to which they embrace approved political views.
 
School of Journalism
 
Columbia's School of Journalism has long been regarded as the leading institution for training in the field. But some of the courses offered are concerned less with acquainting students with the fundamentals of the journalistic craft than encouraging them to embrace the political convictions of the professors. Among these courses, “Human Rights Reporting” is the most obviously corrupted by politics. Indeed, a description of the course is far more evocative of a newspaper editorial than an academic instruction in the fundamentals of reporting. It reads in part:
 
America's new anti-terror war has spawned an array of setbacks for human rights. In the United States these range from the roundup and detention of Middle Eastern men after 9/11 to the erosion of civil liberties and privacy rights. Overseas, the example of the U.S. crackdown has been eagerly adopted by Russia, China and Israel in their battles against local uprisings; Washington will have little moral leverage if it wants to criticize their human rights practices. In the name of enforcing order worldwide, the United States also now claims exemption from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court….

Students will examine and report on international rights abuses, and problems in the New York City region. These may include subjects such as immigrants seeking refugee status, migrants held indefinitely without trial on "secret evidence," police tactics, racial profiling, prison overcrowding, the death penalty, sweatshop labor, the moral responsibility of multinational business for human rights, recovery from atrocities through therapy, and the difficulty that artists and writers grapple with in representing human tragedies.
 
Obviously, the aim of this course is not to teach students how to report on issues of human rights, but rather what to think about them: It is based, quite explicitly, on the evaluative partisan judgments of the professor -- a foundation that would be inappropriate for a course on opinion journalism and is even more so in a course purportedly devoted to objective reporting. Another defect of the course is that the instructor, Peter James Spielmann, is a veteran of the foreign service of the Associated Press. However, there is no evidence that he is an accredited authority on constitutional law, national security policy, foreign policy, criminal justice, economics, or any number of other subjects on which he volunteers his opinions.
 
While Professor Spielmann is indisputably free to express his views outside the classroom, it is a violation of students' academic freedom, as well as a profound irony, for him, to make them the organizing themes of a course designed to teach future journalists to think critically and dispassionately about the issues they cover. Moreover, given Professor Spielmann's partisan approach to the course, it is not clear whether his he regards himself as an academic or a political partisan or whether his intention is to train journalists or activists, a confusion that the course description does nothing to dispel. It states that the “course is designed for students who will work as reporters and editors, and those who may join advocacy organizations or international institutions.” This description itself indicates that the professor sees no meaningful distinctions between advocacy and journalism just as he mistakes an academic calling for a political one.

Department of Anthropology
 
Among Columbia's faculty activists who have recently embarrassed the school is anthropology professor Nicholas DeGenova, who provoked a nationwide controversy in 2003 when he used the occasion of an anti-war teach-in at Columbia to call for America's global defeat in the war on terror and to proclaim, inter alia, that “U.S. imperialism is inseparable from imperial warfare and white supremacy.” Professor DeGenova is naturally entitled to hold such views. But his status as a professional educator on Columbia's faculty obligate him to design and conduct his classes in a manner that is fair, objective and scholarly and not to subordinate their purposes to serve his personal political convictions.
 
An examination of these courses shows, however, that Professor DeGenova has shirked his professional obligations, using them to promote his extremist views about the United States.
Professor DeGenova's course “Latino History and Culture” (LATS W1600) illustrates this tendency. At minimum, a respectable academic survey of these subjects would be expected to consider a wide range of intellectual perspectives, on the understanding that there is no single narrative into which historical and cultural questions can be made to fit. Professor DeGenova takes the opposite approach. As portrayed in his course, Latino history and culture has been primarily shaped by the twin forces of American imperialism and its anti-white racism.
 
This theme runs through every book assigned for the course. In Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, author Juan Gonzalez sets out to “trace the seamless bond between Anglo dominance of Latin America . . . and the modern flood of the region's people to the United States.” (Critically, Gonzales is neither a scholar of Latin America nor a historian of immigration. He is a political columnist and activist who helped co-found the Young Lords, a radical Puerto Rican group, in the late 1960s.)
 
With a similar poverty of nuance, Ramón A. Gutiérrez's When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, a book referenced repeatedly in the course, assails the “flag-waving apostles of American democracy” for conquering New Mexico in the mid 19th century and condemns the “rising American empire” of the “Anglos” for initiating an “intense cycle of cultural conflict” that is “very much alive in New Mexico to this day.” Claims such as these are virtually indistinguishable from those put forward in Ronald Takaki's book, Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th-Century America
Preface, which tendentiously identifies “racism” against non-white minorities, imperialism and capitalist repression as the distinguishing features of the United States in the nineteenth century.
 
Reginald Horsman, in Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism, describes American self-conception as flowing from the racist certitude that “a superior American race was destined to shape the destiny of much of the world.” Students are also required to read a chapter from Howard Zinn's polemical book, A People's History of the United States, wherein Zinn, a self-described “progressive-radical,” depicts American military interventions throughout history as the “natural development from the twin drives of capitalism and nationalism,” and reduces the impulses underpinning American foreign policy to an “ideology of expansion,” “racism,” “paternalism” and financial greed.
 
The notion that United States is fundamentally an imperialist nation and Latinos its main victims is further stressed in Rodolfo Acuña's tellingly titled, Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, as well as speeches by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and the so-called “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán,” a manifesto of the radical Chicano separatist group MEChA, all of which students are required to read. But while the course relies heavily on such polemical works, it nowhere includes contrary historical interpretations, nor does it afford students the opportunity to arrive at their own conclusions about the subjects it examines. The result is that while the course is a comprehensive introduction to the politics of Professor DeGenova and the more radical interpreters of Latino History, it is neither an objective course nor, in any professional sense, an academic one.
 
Nor is this the only example of Professor DeGenova's politically-inspired teaching methods. Another example, also offered through the anthropology department, is his course “The Metaphysics of AntiTerroism” (G6606). Although Columbia has not made a description of this course publicly available, a revealing summary of its contents has been provided by Professor Degenova himself. In a July, 2006, article titled “Migrant 'Illegality' and the Metaphysics of Antiterrorism: 'Immigrants' Rights' in the Aftermath of the Homeland Security State,” written for the Social Science Research Council, Professor DeGenova explained that the term “metaphysics of anti-terrorism” referred to his political conviction that the United States government has illegally accrued counterterrorism powers that it is using to unjustly persecute “undocumented” immigrants and non-whites -- in short, that the U.S. government is authoritarian and its policies conceptually racist. As Professor DeGenova wrote:
 
In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, nonetheless, migrant “illegality” and deportability have been dramatically reconfigured by the implementation of draconian police powers domestically that I call the Homeland Security State. The practical ramifications of the virtually instantaneous hegemony of a metaphysics of antiterrorism for all migrations and migrant transnationalism are already profound… Those prospective “new programs” that might require mass detentions, predictably, are shrouded in an ominous ambiguity. But “detentions,” which is to say, indefinite imprisonment without formal charges or any semblance of due process or law, have indeed been the hallmark of the Homeland Security State….In an antiterrorism regime that has assiduously relegated its suspected internal enemies--namely, Arab and other Muslim migrants utterly innocent of anything remotely resembling “terrorism”--to the abject condition of rightslessness in indefinite detentions, undocumented migrants need not be branded as actual “terrorists.”

The above assertions, although highly disputable, are perfectly legitimate as the substance of a polemical article. But for Columbia University to allow them, as the school evidently has, to serve as the basis of an academic course is to profoundly confuse academic scholarship with partisan political propaganda.
 
While Professor DeGenova's courses may be the most obvious instances of politics masquerading as academic coursework, the department of anthropology has other examples. A course called “Critical Theories of Space, Time and Encounter” (ANTH G6190) has no obvious connection to the discipline of anthropology. It is given over entirely to the assorted claims made by Marxism, feminism, and other ideologies whose uncritical promotion is incompatible with academic/scholarly criteria:

In the service of better understanding what Michel de Certeau has called "the practice of everyday life," this course explores a range of theoretical approaches to questions of space, time, and encounter. Reading specific productions of meaning-what we might understand as a major aim of ethnography-is to identify geographical and temporal coordinates. We will consider how social theorists, of Marxism, historical geography, poststructuralism and feminism have attempted to bring together those concerns associated more formally with either history of anthropology. And we will examine how certain social formations based on movement through space and time, like migrancy and cosmopolitan, and their affiliations with new technologies of representation, pose special dilemmas for ethnographic projects.

In the course “Critical Theories of Space, Time and Encounter,” (ANTH G6190) students are presented with the following focus: “We will consider how social theorists, of Marxism, historical geography, poststructuralism and feminism have attempted to bring together those concerns associated more formally with either history of anthropology.” Reading assignments for this course include the works of leftist writers such as Paul Virilio, Jürgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, and of course Karl Marx -- this despite the obvious fact that they are polemicists and activists, not scholars of anthropology.
 
Similarly, the course “Labor and Exchange, Measurement and Value,” (ANTH G6129y) engages in a decidedly Marxist interpretation of “economy and society,” as seen “through the lens” of Marx’s Capital. (One of only two books used in the course.) Apart from the dubious propriety of uncritically teaching Marxist economics, let alone in an anthropology course, it is unclear what academic credentials qualify the course’s professor, Paul Kockelman, to do so. As a linguistic and psychological anthropologist, Professor Kockelman can claim no special expertise on the subject of economics. The fact that he is nonetheless free to engage in scarcely camouflaged political advocacy is then another indication of the extent of academic corruption within the department. A by-no-means exhaustive list of this corruption would also have to include the course “Gender and Power,” (ANTH W4628). The course centers on nothing so unfashionable as scholarship, but rather limits its scope to “Major issues and debates in contemporary feminist anthropology.”
 
Teachers College Peace Education Center
 
Political rather than academic criteria frame the curriculum for the Teachers College Peace Education Center, an adjunct of Columbia's Teachers College. As the center's mission statement makes plain its purpose is to train students to look upon teaching as a way to promote various political ideals, from environmentalism to anti-war activism and the attendant pacifist precept that military solutions are under no circumstances a legitimate means of conflict resolution.
 
Distilling these agendas into its core mission, the center's website declares its goal of furthering “the development of the field of peace education, particularly in recognition of the unprecedented need to address issues of security, war and peace, human rights and social justice, sustainable development and ecological balance.” The underlying principles of peace education are enumerated as “non-violence, human rights, social, economic, political and ecological justice.” Elsewhere, the center reveals that its teaching methods are rooted in “a philosophy of education grounded in the role of education in social change” (i.e., political activism). Citing the influence on its curriculum of educational theorist Maxine Greene who argues that political activism was a proper role for an educator -- the center states that “[o]ne of its primary purposes” is “to capacitate learners to take action in the larger society.” In simpler terms, the center is more concerned to turn out committed political activists than able teachers.
 
Courses offered through the center provide expansive support for this proposition. A course called “Human and Social Dimensions of Peace,” (ITSF 4603) forthrightly explains that it seeks to teach “peace education” and to strive for “substantive social change.” The emphasis on activism is in itself contrary to the educational purpose of a university course. It is a further affront to academic standards that the only “social change” advocated in the course is, in effect, a shorthand for the causes of the political Left.
 
In the first section of this course, students are required to review the website of The Peoples Decade for Human Rights Education, a left-wing group whose mission is to “advance pedagogies for human rights education relevant to people's daily lives in the context of their struggles for social and economic justice and democracy.” No attempt to supplement this with an alternative point of view is made. Another section of the course, titled “Mass Imprisonment in America,” requires students to read an article by left-wing journalist Eric Schlosser titled “The Prison-Industrial Complex.” Rather than analyzing other views on the criminal justice system, students must scrutinize the websites of activist groups like Books Not Bars, an radical campaign that seeks to close down California's juvenile detonation centers.
 
Still another section of the course is called “The Politics and Material Practices of Occupation” and amounts to a political attack on the state of Israel. Specifically, students are encouraged to adopt the view that Israel's “occupation” of Palestinian land -- a subjective term that finds little support in international agreements -- is the principal cause of the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Students are also required to read a book called A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture, which argues that Israeli architecture is actually a form of “territorial control” and that Israeli settlements are “devices for the surveillance and the exercise of power.” Students are also required to visit the websites of Peace Now, a left-wing group that is routinely critical of Israel's defense policies, as well as the anti-Israel website of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department. The clear impression left by the course is that the social dimensions of peace are synonymous with opposition to Israeli and American policy.
 
It is not the only course that intentionally crosses the line between pedagogy and political advocacy. The course description for “Fundamental Concepts of Peace Education.” (ITSF 4613) states:
 
We will … note how peace education works both within the formal educational system and through non-formal channels in association of community-based associations and NGOs. In the schools, education for peace includes programs such as diversity education, peace and justice education, conflict resolution, civic and democratic education, and violence-prevention education. These programs have been influenced by progressive educational movements such as critical pedagogy and transformative learning. We will study these movements as well for they influence the pedagogical nature of peace education. (Emphasis added.)
 
In order that students will make the prescribed connection between the political commitments urged by the course and their future careers as teachers, students are assigned projects that require them to view education as essentially a political vocation. Thus students are asked “to reflect on a certain concrete situation using a peace education lens. For example, a previous student wrote about her school where she works as a teacher, critically reflecting on the institution from a peace education perspective and drawing from the peace education theories used in the class.”

For inspiration, students are assigned solely those books that regard “peace education” as synonymous with left-wing political activism. A representative text is Peace Education, by Ian Harris and Mary Lee Morrison. Declaring that their motivation is to change “human consciousness,” the authors write that peace education is based on the “philosophy [of] nonviolence” and dogmatically assert that war is not a “legitimate” way of solving problems. “Peace education tries to inoculate students against the evil effects of violence by teaching them the skills to manage conflicts nonviolently and by motivating them to choose peace when faced with conflict.”
 
That conflicts do not invariably lend themselves to peaceful solutions, and that the goal of education is not to promote their own distinctive political ideologies, are issues the authors elect not to address. They concentrate instead on isolating the root causes of violence, which they believe are “structurally violent societies that deny [poor people] economic and social security” and “state systems that invest in “police forces and armed forces rather than quality education and social justice.” In the course of lamenting the rise of “corporate capitalism and its impact upon human communities,” the authors reveal that their goal is to “see that resources are controlled equitably.” Polemical, heedless of contrary perspectives, and inspired by the radical theory that education is properly seen as a corollary of political activism, the book crystallizes the fundamental flaws of the center.
 
African American Studies
 
Political activism and one-sided instruction are also the dominant characteristics of the African Studies department. For example, the course “Introduction to African American Studies” (AFAS C1001) makes no attempt to conceal the fact that one of its goals is to promote “social change” -- that is, political activism: “This introductory course in the African-American experience is largely constructed around the voices and language used by black people themselves. The course is organized chronologically, with an emphasis on the ideas of black social thought, political protest and efforts to initiate social change.”

The course description also suggests that the course portrays the history of black Americans, even contemporary black history, as a struggle against oppression. Thus, the themes the course purports to explore include “ways for the black community to survive discrimination and oppression” and how “black people have managed to sustain themselves in the face of almost constant adversity.” Moreover, according to the course description, “what brings together nearly all representatives of the black experience are the common efforts to achieve the same goals: the elimination of racism, the realization of democratic rights and greater social fairness within a racially pluralistic society, and achievement of cultural integrity of the black community.”

The claim that American society continues to discriminate against blacks is an opinion, rather than a fact, and an academic course should be expected, at the very least, to provide contrary perspectives on the black experience. The course does not do so. Instead, it is based primarily on the writings of the more radical black thinkers, who hold to just this view of the United States. For instance, a text frequently used throughout the course is Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African-American Anthology, is an anthology of writings edited by the course's professor, Manning Marable. Marable is a member of the “central committee” of a Communist splinter group called the Committees on Correspondence. The latter half of his anthology is devoted almost exclusively to the writings of radical activists. Among them are essays by “black Bolshevists,“ including one by communist poet Claude McKay paying tribute to the “freedom” and the support for “the Negro” in Soviet Russia. Other communist writers include Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson, as well as former Black Panther Party members Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Huey Newton. In obvious sympathy with these writers, the book omits all mention of the Black Panther Party's racist platform and its record of crimininality, including drug trafficking, rape, extortion and murder, explaining instead that the party's “armed confrontations with police and the free educational and the health-care programs they sponsored for poor communities conferred upon the Panthers an almost legendary status.” Likewise, an introduction to an essay by Mumia Abu Amal describes the death-row inmate and convicted cop-killer as “America's most celebrated and controversial prisoner on death row.” Beyond such blatantly polemical works, students are encouraged to watch films and visit the websites of anti-prison activists. These include films like Critical Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex, made by the far-Left Video Activist Network, and websites like www.thetalkingdrum.com, which rail against the “prison industrial complex.”

Having absorbed -- without the benefit of differing scholarly perspectives -- the course's underlying claim that Black Americans remain victims in modern-day America, students are required to apply this knowledge to becoming political activists. This is the transparent aim of the “service-learning” component of this course. In order to better understand the “theory you are exposed to in the classroom and throughout the assigned texts,” students are required to volunteer with four pre-approved organizations that work with the black community. Through this work, students can “understand your social responsibility.” (Emphasis in the original.)
 
Because, in the ideological schema imposed of the course, Black communities are “oppressed,” students are informed that by volunteering they will be “empowering those who have no voice.” Apparently, the fact that a leading presidential contender, Barack Obama is Black, as is the Secretary of State, does not reflect the contrary. Accordingly, students can volunteer with the Harlem Education Activities Fund, where they can take part in the so-called “Social Identity Program.” Alternatively, students may volunteer with Harlem Fifty, an organization that works with young Black men who have spent time in prison for criminal activity. The idea behind this experience, according to the course description, is to train students to see Black Americans not as individuals responsible for their own actions but as victims of unjust policies.
 
An integral part of the volunteer project is the creation of an open space in which Columbia students and Harlem Fifty's young Black men can discuss the impact of the African American experience in the United States. They are the effects of many of the policies inflicted on African American communities, and together, you will be able why and how this has come about.
 
Once the volunteer project is completed, students are required to write a “reflection paper” relating the political themes promoted in the course to their community activism. “Crucial to writing a successful reflection paper is the ability to connect theory and practice,” the course description notes. So as to arrive at predetermined political conclusions, students are asked to consider a series of purposely leading questions. The following are some examples:
 
Where you able to find any connection between the history of African Americans in the United States and what the students or trainees you worked with currently experience in their daily lives?
How have your experiences in the community helped you learn about structural racism today?
In what way did you encounter structural racism at your organizations or with the people you worked?
What change is needed for the groups of people you worked with?
How can this change be accomplished: with individual action or collective action--within the system or challenging the system?
What privilege did others bring? What systems are the sources of such privilege? How are you or others disempowered by your/their lack of such privilege?
Whether there is in fact “structural racism” should be a question not an assumption or point of departure for an academic course. By grading students on the basis of political criteria, the course establishes arbitrary standards that have no place in an academic setting. That the course promotes one-sided political views is objectionable enough. That students' grades depend on the extent to which they embrace its political line is a travesty of the educational enterprise.
 
Professor Marable combines political activism and classroom instruction in another course he teachers in the African Studies department, “Critical Approaches to African American Studies” (G4510y). The course description reveals Professor Marable's view that the principal goal of African American Studies is to train students for political activism: Black Studies is “prescriptive,” presenting theoretical and programmatic models designed to empower black people in the real world. By its very nature, it requires a “praxis” - the unity of critical analysis and social action, the production of new ideas, not merely designed to interpret the world, but change it.
 
This course description is repeated almost verbatim from Professor Marable's introduction to Dispatches from the Ebony Tower: Intellectuals Confront the African American Experience, a book that is also required reading for this course. In it, Professor Marable writes there is “a practical connection between scholarship and struggle, between social analysis and social transformation.” Marable further describes African American Studies as a “means to dismantle powerful racist intellectual categories and white supremacy itself,” and states that “black studies must…be an oppositional critique of the existing power arrangements and relations that are responsible for the systemic exploitation of black people.”

Professor Marable's motivations are political not academic. Accordingly, he does not assign readings that challenge his radical critique of American society, as an academic professional would, but provides students with a menu of texts that reinforce his ideological prejudices and promote their agendas. These texts include his polemic Living Black History: How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future. In this book, Professor Marable rejects the historical “master narrative” that American society has extended certain rights and benefits to its black citizens. On the contrary, according to Professor Marable, American society is “historically organized around structural racism.” Marable calls for “popular resistance to the new racial domain” that in his view “oppresses' blacks in modern America.

One can detect the indelible stamp of political advocacy in many other courses in the department. The course “Black Intellectuals Seminar: Pan-Africanism and Internationalism, 1900-1975” (AFAS C3936) is billed not as an academic survey of pan-African ideology but as a recruitment to this very cause. “The overall aim of the course is for students to gain structured, critical, but appreciative knowledge of and insights into the variety of Pan-African ideas and intellectuals,” explains the course description. That the aim of a properly academic course is not to encourage students to think in specific ways about the subjects under discussion is nowhere mentioned, and other courses demonstrate equivalent ignorance on this score.
 
The course “Topics in the Black Experience Seminar: The Novels & Career of Toni Morrison,” (AFAS C3930/003) is not a critical survey of the author’s work, as one might expect in an academic course, but a blatant exercise in hagiography: In the course description, Morrison is declaratively described as “the greatest African-American writer of the 20th century whose place in the American literary canon is “above many white American male authors.”

This profile first appeared as the article, "Columbia University's Political Agendas," by Jacob Laksin (December 1, 2006).

 

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