Brooklyn College President Karen Gould today announced the re-hire of Kristofer Petersen. His appointment to teach a graduate course on the Politics of the Middle East had been rescinded last week, after a furor over his avid pro-Gaza writings, activism and slanted syllabus was brought to light.
In her patently ridiculous statement, Pres. Gould mouths platitudes about academic freedom, and says of her decision:
Today, the Department of Political Science and its appointments committee voted unanimously to recommend Kristofer Petersen-Overton to teach a graduate course on the Middle East. Based on information that has come to light, they are confident he has sufficient depth of knowledge and the intellectual capacity to successfully lead a graduate seminar.
It was a professor in the Political Science who initially hired Petersen. I have his letter in which he recognizes Petersen’s troubling background but expresses confidence in his teaching anyway. That professor then issued a statement along with other PoliSci faculty bemoaning the choice to rescind the appointment. So, the decision to rescind the recission of the appointment was made by the same group that first made it. Well, that’s comforting, isn’t it? Only in an academic bizarro-world.
License to be irresponsible and unprofessional is not what academic freedom is about, though Pres. Gould tries to wrap herself in that disreputable double-speak.
The New York Times adds that, “additional academic references had convinced the college that he was indeed qualified.” Well, now, Petersen’s CV hasn’t changed, nor his views (as Petersen said on TV last week, “I have very vocal views in favor of the Palestinian cause for self-determination.”).
So, what else should one think other than Brooklyn College has capitulated to the Left-Palestinian narrative being legitimate, and to be delivered to a graduate course without adequate professional balance by a graduate student himself only 1 ½ years into his own doctoral studies.
This is all the more troubling following Pres. Gould’s defense of the college distributing a sole book to incoming students, by Prof. Moustafa Bayoumi (the same who edited a book defending the Mavi Marmara thugs), that is critical of US foreign policy in the Middle East, and full of erroneous and misleading statistics.
Some students at Brooklyn College have posted an online petition that will be delivered to Pres. Gould. All are encouraged to sign it, whether on campus or off. It includes this, highlighting the one-sided absurdity of Pres. Gould's choice:
This is just like Brooklyn College wrongfully hiring a professor for an American politics course who then teaches from a syllabus covering the narrow, one-sided narrative of the Republican party only, for example. This example, like in the case of Mr. Petersen, is a shameful disgrace to academic integrity and quality education. It is a disservice to students who are being intentionally denied a scholarly, balanced class from which to formulate wholesome opinions.
Go to this link, read it all, and please add your signature, now. Or, just sit there and wait until it comes to a campus near you, and yours.
The following post has just gone up at New Criterion's blog, Arma Virumque, one of the most prestigious in the blogosphere. The editor, Roger Kimball, also runs Encounter Books, one of the best sources for serious considerations of issues. I am most
Tracked: Feb 25, 12:27
Tracked: Feb 25, 21:31