Campus Watch is adding as of today Central Connecticut State University as an institution to monitor. Information on CCSU can be found at http://www.campus-watch.org/survey.php/id/43.
"Report after report has streamed in about this university," notes Jonathan Calt Harris, managing director of Campus Watch. "After considerable research, our findings show that Middle Eastern studies at CCSU is biased, and – worse – that this bias is actively rewarded by the university administration."
Two issues of concern include:
* A one-sided and extremist summer teachers' institute held at CCSU in July 2002, funded in part by a $24,832 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. At it, speakers presented a distinctly one-sided view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. One course in particular, addressing the history of terrorism, focused on "Israel's state-sponsored terrorism." As Richard Benfield, a CCSU professor of geography noted, this presentation was "more inflammatory than informative."
Two Connecticut members of Congress, outgoing Congressman James Maloney (D) and U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R), commented on the egregious nature of the conference. Maloney noted, "Federally funded courses such as this should not be used to advance any individual agenda or political perspective." "My concern is that the presentation of issues in the Middle East is not balanced," said Johnson. "Intellectual honesty requires that there be a presentation of both sides."
In response to the public outcry, CCSU President Richard Judd merely stated "it was prejudicial to assume that there would be bias" and that as president it was not his "role to determine balance in this or any other program that the University sponsors."
* The recent elevation of Norton Mezvinsky to a new and prestigious "Connecticut State University Professorship" established by all four of the CSU system's universities, Central, Eastern, Southern and Western. Appointment to this professorship is "a signal honor, reserved for faculty members who fulfill the highest ideals of outstanding teaching, scholarly achievement and public service," says Lawrence D. McHugh, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.
Mezvinsky is known for his joint publication with the late Israel Shahak, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,(Pluto Press, 1999) which argues that Judaism is a religion of racism "comparable to the worst form of anti-Semitism" whose adherents believe "the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value."
"Government funding should have ensured a more non-partisan and balanced approach to the CCSU summer institute," notes Daniel Pipes, director of Campus Watch. "Yet, efforts to bring in speakers to present a more centrist perspective were apparently blocked by the university. And rewarding Norton Mezvinsky for spewing antisemitic calumnies is a scandal. President Judd and the CCSU administration need to be watched carefully and critiqued when they make such mistakes."
Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, addresses five problems in Middle East studies: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Connecticut State University is one of thirty-four institutions identified on account bias in Middle East studies.
The Middle East Forum is a 501(c) 3 organization that works to define and promote American interests in the region and to shape the intellectual climate in which U.S. policy is made.