In the past month several Chicago professors have been subjected to e-mail harassment and, in one case, e-mail identity theft. As the FBI continues its investigation of the e-mail forgery, senior faculty have defended their colleagues.
>> Provost Richard P. Saller comments on the harassment
As President Randel wrote in the most recent issue of the University of Chicago Magazine ("From the President"), the University stands for the exchange of ideas without harassment or intimidation. We take seriously violations of this ideal and have investigated allegations that have come to our attention.
A recent series of clear violations is a case in point. In the past month several professors, after being named on the Web site Campus Watch, have been subjected to the harassment of e-mail spams. In addition, Rashid Khalidi, professor in history, Near Eastern languages & civilizations, and the College, and director of the University's Center for International Studies, has suffered a form of identity theft: his e-mail account was broken into and, as a result, hate e-mail has been sent out ostensibly from Professor Khalidi's e-mail address.
If anyone in the University community has received such messages, it is important to know that they are forgeries and illegal under federal law. The FBI is investigating.
Such harassment is to be deplored because it is intended to intimidate. As such, it is an obstacle to reasoned debate and to the free expression on which the University is built.
Richard P. Saller