Skip to comments.USF President Judy Genshaft's Statement (USF fires Sami Al-Arian)
Posted on 12/19/2001 6:27:57 PM PST by PogySailor
Statement of University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft
December 19, 2001
In the hours since the Board of Trustees adjourned this morning, I have reviewed Mr. Gonzalez's report in light of concerns raised by trustees. I have discussed these issues with the Provost, Vice Presidents and Deans of the University, Distinguished Professors, the President of the United Faculty of Florida, legislators, the Florida Board of Education, students, staff, alumni, community leaders and other supporters of our institution.
After reflection on the events of the fall, the information presented to the Board today and the counsel of many people, I have come to a conclusion about the fundamental question of how much disruption the University must endure because of the manner in which a professor exercises his right to express political and social views that are outside the scope of his employment.
Academic freedom is revered at USF. We understand that our scholars must be free to pursue ideas in their academic field wherever they may lead, without fear of political reprisal if they express disturbing ideas. All of us who accept the responsibilities of university leadership understand our professors sometimes spark controversy in their research and teaching. If this were about the freedom accorded faculty in their research and teaching, we would be honor-bound to fight to protect academic freedom. As our Collective Bargaining Agreement with the faculty and the American Association of University Professors principles make clear, academic freedom protects the pursuit of ideas in a faculty member's field of academic expertise.
Dismissal of a tenured faculty member is a very serious step, one that is not contemplated lightly. At USF, we respect the right of faculty to express their personal views on controversial subjects, with the understanding that it must be clear they are speaking for themselves and not for the University. In this case, I have recognized my great responsibility to fully consider both the welfare of the University Community and Dr. Al-Arian's rights of expression.
The reports to the Board today indicated the extent to which this situation continues to disrupt the affairs of the University. This controversy over Dr. Al-Arian is consuming resources of many divisions of the University, and based on information presented to trustees today, it will continue to do so as long as the current arrangement continues. The University Police advise that we cannot guarantee the safety of Dr. Al-Arian and students, faculty and staff around him if he were back on campus.
After much thought, I have come to the sad conclusion that if Dr. Al-Arian remains an employee of the University, the certainty of prolonged disruption of the University and the continuing threat to our students, faculty and staff is profoundly real.
Therefore, I have instructed our Office of Academic Affairs to notify Dr. Al-Arian of the University's intent to terminate his employment. A letter was delivered to his home this afternoon. He will have 10 days in which to respond.
I would like to thank Chairman Beard and the Board for their support and dedication to this university's continuing development as a major research university. Although there are many opinions about this action, I am confident that the Board, the faculty, the students and the staff will retain our unity of purpose for this institution: Building a great University of South Florida to support the development of the Tampa Bay Region, Florida, the United States and the world.
It was odd for him to demand Jeb sic Florida cops on what is clearly an FBI,CIA,INS and NSA matter.
"What a mealy-mouthed statement. Why not say that while they value academic freedom, his views are so beyond the pale that they cannot be accepted at USF. Advocating death and destruction of Jews, and racist anti-Semitism, are not acceptable views of a university professor. Simple as that."
As far as I can tell, the professor hasn't been caught saying "death to the Jews," only "death to Israel." In my opinion, the latter would lead massively to the former. However, a large number of American university faculty members do favor the non-existence of Israel, and it would be a tremendous violation of academic freedom to purge them all. In this present case, to the professor's credit, there does not seem to be any evidence of classroom indoctrination. The man, who teaches computer science, espouses his hate on his own time. The real reason that this case has caused a firing isn't the professor's views, or the professor's perfectly legal involvement with anti-Israel hate groups, but the pressure donors and others from outside the university community put on the institution. Personally, I wouldn't contribute to my alma mater due to affirmative action, but it would be despicable of them to change their policy based on such considerations.
Check out Univeersity of South Florida President Judy Genshaft on a good web search engine. The last big controversy she jumped into also involved a firing, and the reason for the firing, since reversed by a court or mediator, was that students complained their white girls basketball coach was a racist for not recruiting hard enough from black high schools, etc. The commonality in both firing cases is unprincipled surrender to pressure.
This single isolated case is going to be used over and over by America-haters to show that America discriminates against Muslims. If the University of South Florida was right in the matter, that wouldn't be worth mentioning. But the spineless and liberal University of South Florida administration is wrong, and America's reputation abroad will suffer from it.
Larry, schmarry. Judy Lied. How the heck did she get an understanding of the concerns of all those groups in "hours"? The only reason that professor is gone is that Judy sensed that it was either him or both him and her. She was watching the butter on her own bread.
I thought that a university's primary purpose was to teach.
The "president's" use of this term (major research university) tells me her real purpose. Research at a university requires government funds. She's just afraid that the spigot will be turned off.
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