Sunday, December 30, 2007

O'Malley at the MLA: Defamed, but not Discouraged.

Despite claims that Sharad Karkhanis has caused her profound psychic and professional harm, CUNY’s Prof. “Sue” has been rather busy at the 2007 meeting of the MLA. The Radical Caucus in English and Modern Languages presented two resolutions to that body’s Delegate Assembly: one on Zionism; the other on Ward Churchill. Since “Sue” serves as the RC’s Executive Director, we presume that both resolutions express her sentiments, and as such should be shared with her admiring public:

On Zionism and its critics:

“Whereas some organizations and individuals have urged that faculty, writers and speakers who criticize Zionism and Israeli policies be denied tenure, disinvited to speak, speak only when “balanced” by a pro-Zionist speaker, or be fraudulently called “anti-Semitic”; and

Whereas this constitutes a serious danger to academic study and discussion in the USA today,

Resolved that the MLA defend the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech of faculty and invited speakers to criticize Zionism and Israel.”

On Ward Churchill:

“Whereas, upon criticism of Professor Ward Churchill for his remarks concerning the 9/11 attacks, the University of Colorado initiated proceedings against him, and investigations of his scholarly work, and removed him from his directorship of the Ethnic Studies Dept. and subsequently from his tenured teaching position, and

Whereas such acts of retribution threaten free expression in the university setting, particularly against those in historically marginalized disciplines,

Be it resolved that the Modern Language Association condemns this action of the President and Regents of the University of Colorado.”

That the radical “Sue” would rally to the support of Ward Churchill is not surprising. Nor is the anti-Israel bias of a long standing member of the PSC’s New Caucus and Executive Board. But O’Malley’s asymmetric approach to issues of free speech is astonishing. While her attorney is filing a full civil complaint for libel and defamation in New York, she is running through the corridors at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency and shouting that academic freedom is in jeopardy! Not bad for someone who, supposedly, has been sorely wounded by Sharad’s virtual slings and arrows. We marvel at her recuperative powers, or perhaps at her hubris.


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