Sunday, February 8, 2009

The "fact-challenged" professor

The SSCP finds himself claiming his fifteen minutes of fame this week courtesy of my close personal friend David Horowitz, the self-styled, self-proclaimed champion of academic freedom. While it is all too boring and too tedious to try and explain to those not in the know, as was I until a few months ago, until (now out-going), unelected appointee to the Board of Trustees, Mr, Kory Atkinson, brought in Mr. Horowitz' Academic Bill of Rights under cover of darkness in his proposed new policy manual. Subsequently, Mr. Horowitz used this to claim a major victory in a fund-raising letter that got picked up by websites and bloggers across the nation. All of a sudden the proud name of COD was spread across websites like American Jingoist, Gunslot and others that are characterized by perversion, hatred, bigotry, ignorance and stupidity. I found it so disgusting that I could not sit silent and stated my objections to this association to the Board of Trustees on January 12th.

It seems that David Horowitz found out about it because in this Friday's Courier he wrote a letter of rebuttal, taking a certain Robert Jarman to no uncertain task in characterizing him as a fact-challenged professor. It's all very amusing. Part of Mr. Horowitz' problem is that he didn't actually listen to what I said but relied instead on a brief summary of it that appeared in the Courier. Okay, David, I know I'm sometimes fact-challenged - Dulcie would be quick to agree - but it's always a good idea to check the original sources. I know in your line of business you tend to deal in hearsay and anecdote, but in my business I like to deal with facts. Let the readers decide. Below appears a transcript of my statement to the board that night. Below that I've copied the letter by Mr. Horowitz that appeared in the Courier this Friday.

Statement to the BOT, January 12th, 2009.

My name is Richard Jarman, resident, ratepayer, occasional student, and fulltime faculty member of the NASD. What surprised me about this association between Mr. David Horowitz and the College of DuPage is the manner of its discovery: I read about it on a website called The American Jingoist, which is not, so far as I am aware, an official news arm of the college.

Surprise turned to dismay as I read further. Although the language of the ABOR seems at first glance innocuous and even commendable, speaking as it does to diversity and academic freedom; it is what lies beneath that is troubling. For I believe that the motives behind the man, the Freedom Center and all those that lend it support are actually very far removed from those that are publicly espoused.

Mr. Horowitz writes of "a major victory for conservatives, Jews, Christians, and members of the armed forces, just to name a few." While I can identify with more than one of these groups, I regard this as anything but a victory. For a start, singling out specific groups gives the lie to that diversity allegedly sought by Mr. Horowitz. Would Muslims, atheists, and pacifists also number themselves among the victors? I am doubtful.

Applying a couple of skills learned at a previous board meeting, I investigated further. I have provided a few examples of the fringe, one might even say extreme websites, that we are now linked with. The names tend to give a clue: American Jingoist, Gunslot, terrorismawareness. While allegedly promoting diversity and intellectual freedom, Mr. Horowitz seems equally dedicated to promoting "awareness" of "Islamo-Fascism." I think the image on his website says enough. I am not a Muslim, but many of my students are, and I am deeply embarrassed to see an association between this college and inflammatory images of this kind. This is reprehensible.

Worse is to be found at the innocuously named Right beneath "Allah is nothing but a pagan moon-god" and "Rules for Commie Radicals," we find the name of COD. Alongside we find "Obama is a long-legged Mack Daddy." It gets worse, but I think I am making the point.

Personally I am insulted by Horowitz's insinuation that COD faculty are left-wing indoctrinating activists. As I survey my colleagues, the idea is utterly preposterous. And I must ask if the Board of Trustees really believes that this is the kind of relationship it wants to foster and this is the kind of publicity it wants to receive as a result? Rather, I would like to see more examples of the type provided by students like Nahiris Bahamon, who with her academic achievements shone a national spotlight upon our college and its enviable capabilities.

Thank you.

Letter by Mr. Horowitz taken from the Courier, February 6th, 2009.

The article by Juan Garza about reactions to my Academic Bill of Rights ("Faculty Denounce Horowitz's ABOR) reveals an appalling disregard for the facts by at least two College of DuPage professors. Professor Higgins' claim that the Academic Bill of Rights would require professors to represent all points of view is false, in addition to being patently absurd.

The ABOR requires no such thing. Asecond fact-challenged professor named Robert Jarman is then quoted, accusing me of hypocrisy in reference to an "article" I am alleged to have written for a website called "The American Jingoist."

In fact I never heard of this website before reading the Courier article, and never wrote any article for it or for another website "Gunslot" which Jarman also falsely links to me and then in classic McCarthyite fashion links to a website called "Whores and National Guard Ladies."

The article I am alleged to have written was in fact a fund-raising letter I sent out to the public, which these repugnant websites evidently picked up for reasons best known to themselves.

My alleged hypocrisy in this fund-raising letter is my claim that the prospective adoption of the Academic Bill of Rights at DuPage would be a victory for various groups "Jews, Christians and members of the armed forces just to name a few."

Jarman regards the statement as hypocritical because it doesn't explicitly include Muslims, atheists and pacifists as required by the ABOR's diversity requirement. Jarman is sure these groups would not regard the adoption of the ABOR as a victory. But all this demonstrates is Jarman's ignorance.

In the first place, as already mentioned, the ABOR does not require universal inclusion and in the second because the sentence he objects to obviously provides for the inclusion of Muslims, atheists and pacifists (this is the plain meaning of "to name a few").

Contrary to Jarman's arrogant assumption that the ABOR would not be a victory for these groups it would in fact greatly benefit Muslims, atheists and pacifists, and all students at College of Du-Page, because it would require their teachers to observe academic standards of fairness in dealing with opinions they disagree with – obviously a principle that professors Higgins and Jarman do not understand.
David Horowitz
Founder of the Academic Bill
of Rights

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