Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Faculty Union Fluent in Doublespeak

A recent feature in The New York Sun points to the political myopia of the doyennes of the PSC, CUNY’s would-be one party faculty union. Frances Fox Piven, a professor of political science and one of the founders of the radical New Caucus, has expressed support for Adam Habib, a South African scholar denied entry to the U.S. on the grounds of purported links with terrorism. Were Habib granted a visa, he would be in great demand as a speaker at CUNY’s Graduate Center and other venues, Dr. Piven suggested. At stake in the Habib case is the “violation of academic freedom.”

Our distinguished colleague’s comments are grounded on the principle that the free exchange of ideas, in this instance criticisms of American foreign policy, is central to academic life. This is a principle that all involved in the higher learning should endorse. Yet, to date, she has not made a public statement on the libel case filed by Prof. “Sue.” Are Habib’s rights to free speech somehow different than those of Karkhanis? Are the privileges of academic freedom to be granted only to right thinking (and left-leaning) figures like Habib, Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry and Susan Rosenberg?

We’d welcome Distinguished Professor Piven’s support.


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