In response to an attack on the president of Columbia University last week by a coalition of more than 100 faculty members who accused Lee Bollinger of allowing outside interests to sway the school's tenure decisions and of aligning the university with the Bush administration's foreign policy in Iraq, a smaller faction of professors is circulating a letter in his defense.
"The point was to show that the faculty was not united with their statements," a professor of epidemiology who supports Mr. Bollinger, Judith Jacobson, a coordinator of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, said. "That point was made."
RELATED: Text of the Letter
The dissenting professors are disputing the claim. The only remark he made about the war referred to Iran's proxy war against American troops in Iraq, "and only in the context of Iran's financing and arming terrorist attacks against our troops," they wrote.
The dissenting faculty members are also defending the right of outside parties, such as alumni, to comment on pending tenure cases. "When nonacademics and outsiders encounter or hear about what they consider inappropriate forms of teaching, allegations of intimidation or harassment, or the distortion of basic historical or scientific fact, they are justified in expressing, and entitled by the First Amendment to express, their objections," the letter, which refers to pending tenure cases such as that of a professor of modern Arab politics and comparative literature at Columbia, Joseph Massad, reads.
Many of the professors attacking the administration represent the campus left, and in the past they have called upon the university to divest from companies that sell arms and military hardware to Israel. The majority of the professors writing in defense of Mr. Bollinger are Jewish, and include among them a professor at Teachers College, Elizabeth Midlarsky, whose office door was defaced earlier this month with a swastika.
The faculty members who signed the letter in defense of Mr. Bollinger are: Efrat Aharonovich, Kenneth Altman, Elizabeth Anisfeld, Paul Appelbaum, Marc Arkovitz, Jeffrey Ascherman, Mitchell Benson, Mitchell Berman, Bernard Berofsky, Nehama Bersohn, Joan Birman, Michael Bye, Adam Heath Cannon, Charles Calomiris, Mark Cane, Myron Cohen, Jonathan David, Len Druyan, Barry Farber, Awi Federgruen, Scott Fink, Philip Genty, Michael Gershon, Dmitri Glinski, Michael Goldberg, Robert Goodman, Victor Grann, Linda Granowetter, Jonathan Gross, Jeffrey Helzner, Ralph Holloway, Barry Honig, Allen Hyman, Judith Jacobson, Sandra Kahn, Irving Kalet, Eric Kandel, Ran Kivetz, Oscar Lebwohl, Jonathan Levav, Moshe Levison, Nahum Melumad, Elizabeth Midlarsky, Abraham Monk, Alfred Neugut, Stephanie Neuman, Walter Neumann, Peter Ozsvath, Charles Powell, Evan Picoult, Ruth Raphaeli-Slivko, Irina Reyfman, Maya Rom, Jay Rothschild, Samuel Schacher, Neil Schluger, Alan Segal, Alan Seplowitz, Neil Shachter, Howard Shuman, Ethel Siris, Mervyn Susser, Robert Taub, Olivier Toubia, Judah Weinberger, Warren Widmann, Eric Zarahn, Assaf Zeevi, and Thomas Zweifel.