'Dossiers' dropped from Web blacklist
Mideast center says denouncing professors was counterproductive
The creators of a Web site that singled out professors because of their views and teachings on Palestinian issues and Islam said the "dossiers" on the individuals have been taken down because the controversy was taking attention away from the site's purpose.
The change, announced with a statement on the Web site www campus-watch.org, was made this week after it attracted intense media attention because of the dossiers, which gave examples of professors' work and portrayed them as preaching dangerous rhetoric to students.
More than 100 professors from around the country wrote in when they heard of the dossiers, asking to be put on the Web site list as well to dilute the impact of what they called a McCarthyesque intimidation tactic. "The more people who actively volunteer themselves for such a list, the less that power of intimidation works," said Judith Butler, a UC Berkeley professor.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, which runs the Web site, wrote in the announcement that he launched the site to draw attention to the condition of Middle Eastern Studies but that the message has been obstructed by the controversy.
He said he took down the dossiers as a gesture of "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," he said in the announcement.
Snehal Shingavi, a graduate student instructor at UC Berkeley who was listed on the site said he is grateful to his colleagues around the country for speaking out against the site and asking to have their names added, but that the danger is still there.
"Names of professors continue to appear on the Web site and even though they are not in an organized fashion, the Web site still has names on it, and there it seeks to isolate and target and it still has that McCarthyesque feel to it," Shingavi said.
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