Philadelphia – The Middle East Forum announced today a new project to monitor campus-based academic work and activitism. "Campus Watch," unveiled to coincide with the start of the fall semester, will eventually survey over 250 universities across North America.
Campus Watch will begin its efforts by focusing on schools in the news because of Middle East issues: Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, Northeastern, Colorado College, San Francisco State University, and the universities of Chicago, North Carolina, and South Florida.
(Contact information is available for the media for student testimonials of the bias and politically-motivated scholarship at these and other universities.)
"Before 9/11, university-based scholars largely ignored Osama bin Laden and frequently downplayed the danger of large-scale terrorism against America," says Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum. "Since then, they've got it consistently wrong on issues ranging from the meaning of "jihad," to the juridical justifications for suicide bombings, and the influence of the so-called Arab ‘street.'"
Accordingly, the Philadelphia-based think tank will systematically monitor academics and institutions, highlighting achievements and spotlighting problems.The CW staff will inform the general public of the problems in Middle East studies through articles, radio, and television.In addition, CW will work with university administrators, trustees, and alumni, as well as with government officials and legislators.
The project's website, www.campus-watch.org, launched today, provides media reports and original information from students and faculty on college campuses; it also collects dossiers on academic institutions and professors.
The work of academics is important because it sets the tone for much of what is read, taught, and learned on the region and so has an extensive influence on the way Americans see the Middle East. Pre-college teachers take their cue from academics.In times of crisis, the media turns to them.
The failings of America's Middle East scholars have been even more apparent post-9/11, as documented by Martin Kramer in his recent book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. "September 11 has spurred the U.S. government to pour millions of dollars into Middle Eastern studies, a field that manifestly failed to prepare the country for the possibility of terrorist assault," noted Kramer. "The scholars are getting another chance. But who will ‘guard the guardians', making certain the American public gets a fair return on its new investment? Campus Watch is a timely initiative. Academe needs freedom, but it also deserves the same critical scrutiny as government and the media."
Pipes adds:"We hope that by focusing attention on the work of campus-based academics, Campus Watch will help universities improve their record.It won't be easy or quick but we are optimistic that this work will make a difference."
The Middle East Forum is a 501(c)3 that works to define and promote American interests in the region and to shape the intellectual climate in which U.S. policy is made.