Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Atmosphere at CCSU called oppressive

Published in The New Britain Herald, March 11, 2009.

To the editor:

During the last few days, The Herald has published letters from Norton Mezvinsky and Sadu Nanjundiah unfairly attacking Rabbi Stephen Fuchs for his cogent observations regarding the culture of anti-Israel bias on the Central Connecticut State University campus. Their attempt at the character assassination of a deservedly well-respected rabbi is consistent with their support of the Arab and Muslim war on Israel, which at its heart is attempted genocide, essentially national assassination, of the Jews living in Israel.

The problems at CCSU involve something even more fundamental than the one-sided, hate-filled events to which Rabbi Fuchs referred.

As I observed at the recent appearance of Mark Perry, there is an oppressive atmosphere discouraging free inquiry.

Academic freedom is an essential component of higher education. It is meant to promote the expression of the unorthodox and protect those whose ideas may be unpopular. This is not as an end but as a means to bring a diversity of opinions to college and university campuses and promote the intellectual growth and maturity of students.

Unfortunately, it appears that academic freedom has been abused at CCSU in order to do just the opposite.

After Perry spoke, not a single probing question was asked, not even concerning his assertion that both the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian Arab offshoot Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, were fundamentally secular organizations, an absurd claim that formed one of the major themes of Perry's presentation.

Nor did anyone raise any questions about the fact that Perry was introduced as a senior advisor to Yasser Arafat for 17 years. Since Arafat died in 2004, Perry had to be advising Arafat at least as early as 1987, long before Arafat started pretending he was interested in anything other than the destruction of Israel, and probably years before since it generally takes quite a while before someone becomes a senior advisor.

It wasn't just that so many of those attending, including students and faculty, bought the malarkey Perry was selling. As indicated by a significant number of listeners refusing to applaud, there were some perceptive enough to see through Perry but they were apparently too intimidated to ask any questions.

The Orwellian situation in which students are taught that Israel, liberal, Western-oriented democracy, the only state in the Middle East which respects human rights and one which has made enormous concessions in pursuit of peace, is evil, that fundamentalist Islamist terror groups like Hamas, which refuse all offers of peace and deliberately launch rockets at kindergartens are innocent victims, is merely a symptom. The students attending Central Connecticut State University and the public which supports it deserve an institution that encourages independent, critical thinking and intellectual growth.

Alan H. Stein, Ph.D.

President, PRIMER-Connecticut
Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Connecticut

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