Nov. 28, 2003, Philadelphia – A professors' syndicate report this month accused Campus Watch, an academic freedom watchdog, of being a "source of efforts to discourage lawful speech" in the post-9/11 environment. To this, Campus Watch responds by noting that this report underscores a continuing reluctance by American professors to address significant failures in Middle Eastern studies departments.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) report, "Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis", finds that Campus Watch (CW) has "denounced professorial departures" from what it views as "acceptable." The report even equates Campus Watch to "the activities of the John Birch Society in the 1960s."
Campus Watch sees the AAUP report, with its nonsensical comparison to the John Birch Society, reflecting a persistent and seemingly willful lack of understanding of CW's purpose. CW consists of
"We find it amusing that the professorate compares Campus Watch to the John Birch Society in the effort to discredit our work. We are troubled, however, that the AAUP shields poor scholarship – it's rather like the American Bar Association protecting lawyers who break the law," says Daniel Pipes, founder of Campus Watch. "The AAUP should be condemning the shortcomings of professors of Middle Eastern studies, not sheltering them."
"AAUP needs to understand that Campus Watch does nothing to discourage free speech," adds Jonathan Calt Harris, managing editor of Campus Watch. "Rather, we shed light on the radicalization of
CW, however, is grateful that the professors' association does acknowledge CW's constitutional right to critique Middle Eastern studies (when it notes that CW is "sheltered by the same freedom of expression that we seek for ourselves").
Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum, a 501(c)3 organization that works to define and promote American interests in the region and to shape the intellectual climate in which