Days after a Columbia University report dismissed as unfounded Jewish students' complaints of intimidation by faculty, angry professors yesterday called for protections from "McCarthyist" attacks against them.
Meanwhile, at a gathering of student leaders, university Provost Alan Brinkley said new procedures for lodging grievances against faculty would ensure student concerns won't be "brushed aside."
More than two dozen professors railed against what they called outside political forces.
"We've seen this with Ward Churchill, we've seen this with our colleague Joseph Massad," said history professor Rashid Khalidi, referring to the embattled University of Colorado professor who compared World Trade Center victims to Nazis and the Columbia Middle East instructor singled out in the report for threatening a student who disagreed with him.
"If the students don't [protect academic freedom] and the faculty doesn't do it, I promise no one else will," Khalidi said before a crowd of some 400 students and faculty at Low Library.
Khalidi, director of Columbia's Middle East Institute, was recently barred by the city from lecturing public-school teachers because of past inferences he made linking apartheid and Israel's conduct toward Palestinians.
The event was organized by the campus group Stop McCarthyism at Columbia.