Tags: Exposed: | Berkeley's | Bigotry | Against | Conservatives

Exposed: UC Berkeley's Bigotry Against Conservatives

Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM

Chancellor Robert Berdhal said in a statement Friday that the English department had been ordered to change the course description of "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance" so that the controversial caveat is removed.

"I am concerned that this failure of oversight has occurred, and I am pleased that the English Department is acting immediately to remedy it," said Berdhal. "Universities should not avoid presenting controversial material, and we do not. It is imperative that our classrooms be free of indoctrination."

Whether classrooms do indeed remain "free of indoctrination" is another matter entirely.

The class, which will be offered in the fall, focuses on the works of Palestinian poets who have written about the long-running conflict with Israel. It is to be taught by a fifth-year graduate student who is also a leader of a pro-Palestinian campus group.

The course description drew criticism from students and American Civil Liberties Union because it included the advisory that "conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections."

Berdhal said UC courses were required to meet the Faculty Code of Conduct that prohibits the discouraging of all qualified students from enrolling.

"Classrooms must be places in which an open environment prevails and where students are free to express their views," he said.

Berkeley has long had a reputation of encouraging left-wing political debate and censoring conservative voices, beginning in the 1960s and continuing to the present-day wrangling about Israel and other matters. Left-wing extremists have stolen campus newspapers that contain articles and ads they don't like.

Margaret Crosby, an attorney with ACLU, told the San Francisco Chronicle that freedom of speech was at issue.

"A political speaker can address what he or she chooses, but they have no right to say there should be no hecklers," she noted. "We all learn more when we are challenged."

Student Daniel Frankenstein told the newspaper that it appeared the instructor, Snehal Shingavi, was attempting to form a "think tank" of like-minded students.

Shingavi said his class was not closed but was focused on Palestinian poetry and was not meant to become a platform for arguing over Israeli-Palestinian relations.

"You can have a series of debates about Israel's right to destroy Palestine, but those are not germane to the questions about how Palestinians understand themselves and how they understand resistance," the 26-year-old Shingavi explained. "I'm not restricting the class. It is merely a warning that the course has certain kinds of themes that are at its core."

He told the student newspaper, Daily Californian, "If you can't accept that Palestinians have the right to self-determination, it is impossible to read resistance poetry."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International

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Chancellor Robert Berdhal said in a statement Friday that the English department had been ordered to change the course description of The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance so that the controversial caveat is removed. I am concerned that this failure of...
Exposed:,Berkeley's,Bigotry,Against,Conservatives
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2002-00-10
Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM
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