Sunday, August 31, 2008

DENMARK: Academics sign up to protest

by Ard Jongsma
Danish academics are collecting signatures to convince Science Minister Helge Sander that opposition to the current education law is, in their words, “no sectarian craving from a dissatisfied minority…but has a broad basis of support among Danish students and researchers”.
Full report on the University World News site

Friday, August 29, 2008

AAUP Completes Dream Team

"Gary Rhoades, who transformed our understanding of the professoriate with the publication of Managed Professsionals and Academic Capitalism in the New Economy, will join Cary Nelson at the helm of the AAUP in January. As director of the Institute for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, he is already a leading international authority on the complex of issues most pressing for AAUP: the assault on faculty culture by administration via the forced introduction of academic-capitalist values and practices; deprofessionalization and casualization; and the complex global-economic relations between state, market, and campus actors."
— read the story in Chronicle of Higher Education:

Monday, August 18, 2008

North Carolina State U undermines academic freedom of film scholar

For the Naitonal Project to Defend Dissent and Critical Thinking in Academia


As you know, since 9/11, the right has ramped up its attack on academics who dare to dissent from the U. S. occupation of Iraq and its policy in the Middle East more generally. Neo-McCarthyite groups like the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Students for Academic Freedom and the David Project have published lists of “disloyal” faculty and scurrilous reports on allegedly "anti-American" courses dealing with U.S. imperialism, Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Respected scholars who study and write about such subjects -such as Norman Finkelstein-- have been denied tenure solely on the basis of their politics. Others, like Ward Churchill, have had tenure summarily stripped from them.

In similar instances, applications for tenure have been seriously threatened (Nadia Abu El-Haj: Joseph Massad) and books and their publishers have been targeted for censorship (i.e. Joel Kovel’s book “Overcoming Zionism” and University of Michigan Press). Now, the assault on academic freedom has effected yet another critical scholar: Terri Ginsberg, a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from NYU and an authority on Israeli and Palestinian film.

Last fall, Terri was hired to a one year, non-tenure track position in Film Studies at North Carolina State University (with the possibility of renewal). As part of her teaching responsibilities, she offered advanced courses on film and media treatment of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and on the political aesthetics of Holocaust film (the subject of her recent book) ; she was also charged with helping to program a Middle Eastern film series.

Unfortunately, as Terri details in a grievance she filed with the NCSU Faculty in March 2008, the director of the film studies program and the director of the Middle East studies program at NCSU made a number of administrative decisions in the course of the past year that flagrantly violated Terri’s academic freedom.

To begin with, they limited her involvement in the film series which she had been hired to curate, and criticized the introduction she gave at a screening of the Palestinian film “Ticket to Jerusalem” as biased and overly political. Moreover, the director of the film studies program refused to purchase many of the materials Terri had requested for her Palestine/Israel film and media course and submitted her evaluation of Terri’s teaching prematurely. All of this culminated in her contract not being renewed for the upcoming academic year.

The grievance Terri filed with the NCSU Faculty alleged violations of her First Amendment and equal opportunity rights under the University Code. Despite a recommendation from the NCSU Faculty Chair that her case be given a full hearing, NCSU Chancellor James L. Oblinger summarily dismissed her petition on the grounds that it was filed “too late” and that Terri was no longer a university employee. To make atters worse, the AAUP-- who had been helping Terri with her case-- informed her in
the wake of Oblinger’s decision that they would no longer provide her with assistance. (For more information about the facts of Terri’s case, read the following article:

In response to this outrage, people from around the world have been inundating NCSU with letters demanding that the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees allow Terri’s grievance to go forward. An online petition has been started that requests that NCSU consider Terri’s case and asks the AAUP to give her the support she deserves.

Please take a few minutes to help Terri in this fight. First, add your name to the petition of support drafted by Academics for Justice (

Second, send e-mails and make phone calls to D. McQueen Campbell, chair of the NSCU Board of Trustees, andD. McQueen Campbell, Chair NCSU Board of Trustees
tele: 919-515-2195
fax: 919-831-3545

Dr. Larry A. Nielsen, NCSU Provost &
Executive Vice Chancellor
tele: 919-515-2195
fax: 919-515-5921

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Online campaign to help Gaza's students reach their studies abroad

Currently, hundreds of Palestinian students are trapped in the Gaza Strip - unable to reach the universities around the world to which they have been accepted. Since June of 2007, Israel has imposed a closure on the Strip, violating the right to freedom of movement and other rights for which freedom of movement is a pre-condition, such as the right to access education.

Faced with pressure from world leaders outraged over the ban, Israeli officials declared recently that they would allow exit for just a few dozen students in Gaza holding "recognized scholarships" as a gesture to "friendly countries" but will continue to prevent hundreds of other students from reaching their studies. With each passing day, Gaza's most talented young people risk losing their places in universities abroad - and losing their chance to pursue their dreams of building a better future in the region.

Further information on this issue is available in Gisha's report issued in June 2008 and in Gisha's July 2008 Power Point Presentation.

With the new academic year fast approaching, Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement is working to persuade Israeli authorities to cancel the ban on students leaving the Gaza Strip and to allow Gaza's students to reach their studies abroad. One of the ways we are doing so is via a new internet campaign, in which banners featuring the students (see an example of one which I've attached below) are passed along through mailing lists and posted on blogs. Clicking on the banner then leads to the campaign's minisite:, where visitors can send a message to Israeli leaders in support of the right of Palestinian students in Gaza to reach their studies.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free Inquiry at Risk

Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Social Sciences
exchanges advertisement with
Journal of Research Practice

-- Please share this in your academic/research network --

A Social Research Conference at The New School
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, October 29, 30, and 31, 2008

Join us as a group of experts discuss trends that are reshaping universities around the world. What are the benefits and what are the risks to the universities' core values of academic freedom and free inquiry as they navigate rapid globalization, international collaborations,
massification, corporate partnerships, and growing franchises. This conference commemorates the 75th anniversary of The New School's University in Exile, founded as a haven for European scholars rescued from the ravages of fascism.

John L. Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
Full conference $30, $10 per session (Students are free)

Roberta Sutton
Conference Coordinator
The New School for Social Research
65 Fifth Avenue, 375 New York, NY 10003
P: (212) 229-5776 x 3121 F: (212) 229-5476
E: W:
Please visit Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times at
The journal, Social Research has provided a link to JRP on its Web site: In return, the Journal of Research Practice has provided a link to their "Free Inquiry" conference on the JRP home page:
D. P. Dash, Editor, Journal of Research Practice (JRP)