Philadelphia – The Middle East Forum announced today it has altered the format of its website, www.Campus-Watch.org. The site has elicited overwhelming support from the public - but a furious response from academics who focused almost exclusively on the site's dossiers on the work of specific instructors.
The new format eliminates the "dossiers" and instead folds the analysis of instructors within the "Survey of Institutions." Campus Watch monitors and critiques Middle East studies, with the goal of improving a failing field. It collects media reports and original information, then makes its work available to university administrators, trustees, alumni, students, prospective students and their parents, as well as government officials and legislators.
"We launched the site to draw attention to the condition of Middle Eastern studies," explains Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum. "But rather than address the problems we raise, Middle East specialists – joined by their colleagues in other fields – have talked about nothing but the format of the site. We have made this change to show our goodwill. Now, we hope they will respond to the charges that we are raising: the intellectual failure of Middle East studies, the tendency toward political extremism, the intolerance of alternative viewpoints, the apologetics, and the abuse of power toward students."
Since its launch on September 18, Campus-Watch.org has been covered in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, plus multiple stories in the Associated Press. Student publications (the Harvard Crimson, Berkeley's Daily Californian) and the Chronicle of Higher Education have analyzed the site, as well as many listservs and electronic media. Fox News ("Hannity and Colmes") and MSNBC ("Donahue") have devoted full segments to the project. Over 80,000 individuals have visited the website and a counter web-site has appeared (Campus-Watch-Watch.org). For a full roundup of media coverage, please see http://www.campus-watch.org/docs/type/3.