In a terrible breach of faith with its students, faculty and community, Columbia University has granted tenure to a classroom bully and Jew-basher.
Joseph Massad, who has been on the teaching roster for more than nine years, lacks the temperament and scholarship to merit lifetime appointment at any respectable institution of higher learning. Let alone in the Ivy League. Let alone in New York, a city with a major Jewish population.
The school has refused all requests to discuss Massad's status. There are many interested parties, among them $51,000-a-year enrollees, faculty, alumni and alumnae and potential donors. Yet, the public relations office retreats behind a "longstanding policy not to comment on tenure cases."
Other major universities put tenure decisions out for public consumption. Yale provided the status of three junior faculty members upon the Daily News' request. Princeton publishes faculty promotions in the Princeton University Bulletin and posts them online. Referring to tenure, a spokesman for the American Association of University Professors said: "I don't know of a situation where it wouldn't be disclosed."
Well, Massad is that situation.
A member of Columbia's troubled Middle Eastern languages and cultures department, in 2005 he threatened to expel a student from class for challenging his Israel-is-evil point of view. He also demanded that a student who'd been in the Israeli Army tell how many Palestinians he'd killed.
A university investigative panel found that Massad had trampled on academic freedom with his expulsion threat. The probe's conclusion that he had "exceeded commonly accepted bounds" of teaching should easily have disqualified him for tenure.
Worse, he is a crackpot who propagates preposterous notions: that homosexuality was foisted on the Arab world in a conspiracy by white male Western scholars. That Israelis are infected with psychosis that turns them into Nazis and transforms Palestinians into the ultimate victims - Jews.
Massad's tenure application was turned down in 2007, but then was reopened and approved. How is this known? Journalist Judith Miller reported on her blog that invitations to a tenure party had gone out.
Meanwhile, 14 professors wrote to Provost Claude Steele, charging the school broke faculty rules to shoehorn Massad into tenure. Steele, who took office after the decision was made, agreed to discuss the process, keeping Massad's case confidential. Why? Because it's unspeakable.