Ask your senator to defend academic freedom
CAIR is urging American Muslims and other people who value academic freedom to contact their senators, particularly members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, to express opposition to the creation of an International Studies Advisory Board that could be part of the Senate counterpart to H.R. 3077, the Education Reauthorization Act now being drafted by the HELP Committee.
Section 633 of the Education Reauthorization Act calls for the creation of an advisory board consisting of at least two appointees that represent national security agencies overseeing curricula, course materials and the recruitment of faculty that accept federal government money for international studies. While Asian, African, European, and Latin American area studies programs will be affected, Middle Eastern studies programs are the real target of the advisory board.
The advisory board could serve to stifle academic freedom by suppressing any views that are not viewed as supportive of Israel and in line with Muslim-bashers like Daniel Pipes, who has been actively pushing for the oversight board.
Pipes faced a storm of criticism when he launched Campus Watch, a web site that included "dossiers" on professors and academic institutions thought to be too critical of Israel or too sympathetic to Islam and Muslims.
In a January 13th Washington Post article, Pipes claimed "Middle East studies have not served us well" and that the board will serve to "....supervise the distribution of government funds…..of what he considers to be the radical Middle East studies lobby centered in universities such as Columbia, Georgetown and the University of Chicago."
H.R. 3077 passed the House floor with little notice of academic freedom concerns.
"At a time when Congress is pushing for democracy and academic freedom in the Middle East, it is critical that we uphold these values in our own universities," said CAIR Governmental Affairs Coordinator Hasan Mansori. Action Requested:
1) Contact the Chairman of the HELP Committee today and ask that section 633, which creates the advisory board, be removed from H.R. 3077 in the Senate bill. Send copies of correspondence to the other members of the committee. Contact:
Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6300
Tel: (202) 224-5375, Majority Staff: (202) 224-6770, Minority Staff: (202) 224-0767 FAX: (202) 228-5044
2) Contact the committee member who represents your state and ask that section 633 be removed from H.R. 3077 in the Senate bill. Send copies of correspondence to the other members of the committee. Click here
for list of committee members.