To the Times:
The following is a copy of a letter to Ivory V. Nelson, president of Lincoln University.
As members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly we, as I'm sure you know, not only support Lincoln University financially, we also have a high regard for the university's excellent reputation and a large stake in its future success.
Given this, we maintain a keen interest in what is happening at Lincoln, and how it affects the image of the school, and by extension, our image as a state.
It has recently come to our attention that Lincoln employs a literature professor by the name of Kaukab Siddique. Mr. Siddique has written an article and appeared in a video in which he denies that the Holocaust happened, calls for the destruction of Israel through the use of violence, and calls Jewish people a whole series of offensive names.
For reasons which I am sure are obvious, this sort of rhetoric raises concerns. We support academic freedom and certainly a professor has the right to criticize Israel, or any other entity or policy he wishes.
However, we are all familiar with the adage "you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts." I think this applies in this case.
The Holocaust is not a theory or opinion, it is historically documented fact, denied only by those with a hateful anti-Semitic agenda.
We are hoping that you can provide some clarification on a number of issues begged by Mr. Siddique's conduct.
1. What level of awareness did Lincoln's administration have of Mr. Siddique's propensity to engage in the sort of speech described above when he was hired and awarded tenure?
2. Are Mr. Siddique's anti-Semitic diatribes any part of his classroom presentation, or other presentations outside of the classroom but on campus?
3. What steps are being taken to ensure that Mr. Siddique is not teaching students at Lincoln University that the Holocaust is a myth, and is not perpetrating false and derogatory information regarding people of the Jewish faith?
We would note that we recently passed SR 315 which makes it clear that the Pennsylvania legislature does not tolerate hate-speech or anti-semitic speech on the part of state employees and state supported universities.
We appreciate your prompt response and very much look forward to hearing from you.
You may reply to me and I will pass along your reply to my caucus.
State Sen. DAYLIN LEACH
D-17, Upper Merion
State Sen. ANTHONY H. WILLIAMS