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Stop ‘political indoctrination’ against Israel in UC classrooms, 176 professors urge Napolitano

Reapproved course has ‘clear intent to justify the elimination of the State of Israel’

The University of California-Berkeley suspended a student-led course titled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” in September, saying it had not been properly vetted, after being warned that it promoted the elimination of Israel.

Now that the course has been re-approved with “cosmetic” changes, UC President Janet Napolitano is facing new heat.

Dozens of advocacy groups and 176 faculty around the country – 110 of them UC professors – told her that UC is beset by academic “corruption” when it comes to reviewing course content for anti-Israel “indoctrination.”

MORE: Berkeley halts class said to promote elimination of Israel

They signed a letter to Napolitano asking her to “issue a statement that describes and re-asserts” a UC policy on “course content” that prohibits the use of the classroom “as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest” or for “political indoctrination.”

They also want her to reassert the academic freedom policy and clarify that “personal interest” and “indoctrination” count as “serious misuse of the classroom.”

Napolitano should charge each UC chancellor with “urging” their academic senates to ensure all courses comply with the course-content policy, the letter reads.

MORE: Berkeley restores alleged anti-Semitic class with ‘cosmetic’ changes

Signatories that may be familiar to College Fix readers include UC-Irvine’s Gary Fouse and Syracuse University’s Mirian Elman. (The AMCHA Initiative, which spearheaded the letter, did not include the faculty list in its initial public letter but provided the list to The Fix.)

The quick reapproval of the “Palestine” class amounts to a rubber stamp, not a serious review, they said:

We write to express our grave concern at what we believe to be the improper behavior of anti-Zionist faculty and student instructors, who use the classroom as a pulpit for political advocacy and activism in violation of UC policies and conventional academic ethics designed to curb exactly such abuse. …

MORE: Anti-Semitic flyers go up after Berkeley restores ‘settler’ course

Even after Dean Carla Hesse asked Ethnic Studies to re-review the syllabus in light of the Regents Policy, the department chair approved the course, denying that it had any particular political agenda or that it crossed the line from education to indoctrination. We find it hard to believe that a course with an obviously one-sided anti-Israel reading list, exclusively anti-Israel guest speakers, and a clear intent to justify the elimination of the State of Israel is considered to be consistent with Regents Policy.

They point to an “almost identical” course at UC-Riverside that was flagged by critics a year ago, yet officials there “claimed after the fact” that it was in compliance despite being “unambiguously one-sided” and “proselytizing.”

The letter says Dean Hesse’s quick response in suspending the UC-Berkeley course was a “notable exception” to the general practice of administrators

not reminding faculty of the vital importance of safeguarding academic freedom from abuse and of the faculty’s obligation to be diligent in enforcing the Regents policy.

Read the letter.

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