Professors and academics across the country are outraged at a website known as Campus-Watch.org. On this website the names and information of prominent professors of major universities are listed. These professors include Mark Levine, assistant professor of history at UC Irvine, and James Hess, a teaching assistant for UCI's School of Social Sciences. Campus Watch also provides valuable information on university professors who are apologists for radical Islam.
Many students and faculty are not yet aware of what Campus Watch is. According to its website, Campus Watch "consists of American academics concerned about U.S. interests and their frequent denigration on campus. Those interests include strong ties with Israel, Turkey, and other democracies as they emerge; human rights throughout the region; a stable supply and a low price of oil; and the peaceful settlement of regional and international disputes." The website is a project of the Middle Eastern Forum, a think tank which includes such distinguished Middle Eastern experts such as Harvard Professor Daniel Pipes and Jonathan Schanzer. Pipes has long argued about the danger of political Islam and the threat it poses to the security of the United States. Pipes and other academics like him want to "reverse the damage already caused by the activist-scholars on American campuses." This damage includes putting into the minds of students and potential future policy makers a sense that America is at fault for everything and that our enemies need only to be understood and given what they want.
Professor Levine and Mr. Hess are listed on this website for a reason. Shortly after the website was launched in September of this year, Campus Watch has received more than 100 e-mails from faculty and graduate students such as Professor Levine and Mr. Hess, requesting to be listed in "solidarity" with the academics already listed. Therefore in compliance with their requests the owners of the website posted Professor Levine's and Mr. Hess's names. In doing this Professor Levine has joined nearly 100 other professors nation-wide in adding their names to this list. These professors come from a wide range of fields, including History, English, and Literature but in particular the social sciences. Many academics are concerned that this website will generate fear and stifle free speech. But in a recent New York Times article Professor Pipes responds: "We're engaged in a battle over ideas. To bring in this notion of academic freedom is nonsense. No one is interfering with their right to say anything they want."
According to Campus Watch, few of the academics who requested to be listed on their website actually addressed the concerns and problems listed on the websites homepage. These included: "analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students." These politics typically either tilt to the left or are favorable to radical Islam. On its website Campus Watch displays an editorial which cites a study by the Wall Street Journal that found a "disturbing uniformity of left-wing political beliefs with university faculty." It has been subject to debate over why this is the case in universities but one of the reasons put up is intolerance amongst academia towards those who do not subscribe to their views. Prize-winning author Abigail Thernstrom describes what goes on at university campuses as "an island of repression in a sea of tolerance." Many universities have been known to silence or intimidate right of center views by branding them as "homophobic, racist, sexist, or "fascist."
Many would wonder why the academics listed on the website support fundamentalist Islam and suicide bombings. The website's answer is that "academics seem generally to dislike their own country and think even less of American allies abroad." For example, the country most closely allied with the U.S. in the Middle East — Israel — is often accused of the worst crimes by these academics, while authoritarian and totalitarian regimes like Iran and Iraq are ignored.
Also, Middle Eastern Studies departments in the United States have become dominated by Arabs who have views from their countries of origin that did change when they settled in the United States. A perfect example is a University of South Florida professor, Sami Al-Arian, who was involved in a recent controversy involving inflammatory statements he made supporting the terrorist group Hamas and his alleged personal links to this organization.
In addition, many academics have contempt for western civilization in general and one of its most important pillars: Christianity. In the book The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov, listed as assigned reading for Cecilia Lynch's class on World Politics and Religion, Christianity is attacked for its indirect responsibility for the slaughter of Native Americans by the Spanish conquistadors. Contrast this with assigned reading of the Koran at the University of North Carolina, where passages of the Koran terrorists that have used to justify attacks like those of September 11 have been omitted.Despite the heavy criticism by academics, this website is unlikely to go away. Some could contemplate a lawsuit or object to an "invasion of privacy," but defenders of this site could contend that information openly provided to students in a classroom is hardly a violation of privacy. Whatever happens, this debate is unlikely to end anytime soon.