Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No confidence in the policies of the UK Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts

The following is from the ‘Campaign for the Public University’:

1) Both the Oxford and Cambridge campaigns for higher education have been in the news over the last week for their proposals for a vote of no confidence in the policies of the Minister for Higher Education, David Willetts. Oxford has also asked for national support for this campaign. You can join the campaign by following the link below and going to the 'Join Us' page. Their vote will take place on Tuesday 7th June and it would be helpful to get as many people signing up in support before then as possible.


2) Online petitions have also started at the Universities of Warwick and Goldsmiths. If there are any other petitions happening at other institutions, please get in touch with the Oxford campaign.

3) News emerged today of a new private institution established by the philosopher A. C. Grayling together with, what seem to be, a number of venture capitalists. This is the New College of the Humanities which will offer a predominantly humanities curriculum and will start admitting students in 2012-13. It is planning to charge £18,000 per year.

4) For a number of critical weblogs on this news, see the following articles:




Ginsberg vs. NCSU. Support for Ginsberg sorely needed

We have mentioned this case before (here). This time, we decided to reproduce the full letter from Terri Ginsberg and her Legal Team, as they urgently need support.
UP webmaster.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As you know, I have been involved over the past three years in waging a lawsuit against North Carolina State University (NCSU). The lawsuit contests the University's decision to dismiss me from my teaching position after it suppressed my speech and retaliated against me for my teaching and scholarship critical of Zionism and Israeli policy and supportive of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Since my dismissal from NCSU, I have sought redress from the University, first by exhausting all on-campus and local remedies, then by filing a constitutional lawsuit against NCSU and the larger University of North Carolina system of which it is a part.

I am writing you today, with great appreciation for your prior support, to ask you once again to help me continue my struggle. My case has been long and arduous. As of this writing, its combined Record runs more than 500 pages. As outlined on my case blog (http://ginsbergvsncsu.wordpress.com), the lawsuit entered litigation in December 2009. In May 2010, the parties underwent a mediation hearing mandated by the State of North Carolina; the University offered me a ridiculously small sum and no reinstatement, whereupon no settlement was reached. A week of depositions followed. When the discovery period ended, the case underwent a Summary Judgment hearing on October 25, 2010, for which the case was dismissed summarily, perfunctorily, without reason; the judge, Shannon Joseph, simply issued a boilerplate "decision" that basically "just says no."

In fact, NCSU admitted during deposition hearings that it suppressed my speech critical of Zionism and supportive of the Palestinian liberation struggle while I was under its employ as a visiting professor, and that it chose not to interview or hire me for a tenure-track position because of my scholarship focusing on Palestine/Israel, the Middle East, and the „Jewish.‰ Amazingly, the University claims that it has the right to suppress, refuse and reject on the basis of these considerations! Notwithstanding this admission and the fact that my attorneys presented a mountain of circumstantial evidence and were able to rebut NCSU's stated reasons for its actions against me, the judge ignored it all without explanation. By thus dismissing the case, Judge Joseph essentially decided that academic speech critical of Zionism and supportive of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim perspectives is not protected by the free speech provision (Article I, section 14) of the North Carolina Constitution.

In a few short weeks, my legal team, headed by Rima Najjar Kapitan (http://www.kapitanlaw.net/), will file an Appellate Brief with the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and an Appeal Hearing will be held subsequently, most likely in late August or early September. This appeal process is extremely important, for here is our opportunity to expose and contest Judge Joseph's irrational refusal to allow my case to be properly heard by a jury of my peers. We aim to ensure that I be given the fair hearing I deserve and that is my rightful due.

However, I cannot move forward without your continued support. While my legal team has been more than generous with their time, and firm in their commitment, litigation fees are unfortunately non-negotiable. Furthermore, since leaving NCSU, I have been un(der)employed and continue to seek gainful employment in the field of higher education. Under the circumstances, and recognizing the many other pressing issues which face our communities and require urgent support at this time, I must now ask once again for your help as we approach this crucial moment of our struggle.

If you are able to give, please kindly make your check payable to Kapitan Law Office, with "Ginsberg vs. NCSU" written on the comment line. The funds will be held in a client trust account until they are needed for litigation costs. All unused funds will be donated to a worthy Palestinian organization. Checks should be mailed to:

Rima Najjar Kapitan, Esq.

Kapitan Law Office, Ltd.

300 South Wacker Drive

Suite 1700A

Chicago, IL 60606 USA

Thank you in advance for your efforts, generosity, and continued support.

In appreciation and solidarity,

Terri Ginsberg and her Legal Team