Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University - Haaretz runs front page story of
Far-Leftist suppression of Academic Freedom at TAU for second day
For the second day in a row, Haaretz has run
front page news stories on Tel Aviv University and on the complaints
by students of being harassed and intimated by leftist faculty
members. In today’s story, it reports that the Rector of TAU is
looking into the matter and investigating. In the first story
yesterday, Haaretz itself said that it investigated the matter as a
result of earlier stories that had run in the media about monitoring
web sites exposing leftist radical faculty members. It of course
meant Isracampus.org.il. Note how Haaretz paints the problem as
complaints from “right-wing students.”
T.A. University to probe claim right-wing
By Or Kashti
Tel Aviv University rector
Dan Levitan said he would investigate whether right-wing students
refrain from expressing their political views in class, fearing that
lecturers perceived as left-wing may lower their grades.
"A considerable number of
students complain bitterly that they are deeply offended by the
presentation of materials that oppose their views, but are afraid of
speaking out lest it harm their grades," the head of TAU's
Curriculum and Instruction department Prof. Nira Hativa wrote in a
memorandum last month.
The memo sparked controversy
among professors, some of whom said her comments were
"generalizations" that right-wingers could use to justify attacks on
Knesset Education Committee
chairman MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) said the students'
complaints are proof academia lacks academic freedom and freedom of
Hativa wrote in the memo that
the students who are afraid of speaking out "sit through class,
frustrated and angry."
Replying to a question from
Haaretz, Hativa said her statement was "based on feelings,
intuitions and personal impressions, and may very well be wrong."
Yesterday, TAU issued a
statement announcing that Levitan will "thoroughly examine" the
allegations, as soon as Hativa returns to Israel in a week.
The university has received
no complaints on this matter so far, the statement said.
"We've been dealt a stupid
blow with no justification," a senior TAU professor said yesterday.
He said Hativa's comments
were "not based on a statistical analysis of an explicit question
put to all the students, right- and left-wing. They were based on
complaints written by those who want to complain. It's a statistical
bias, and it's impossible to know how representative it is."
Another lecturer said, "The
definition of left-wing is very broad. Until specific statements or
situations are examined, these are nothing but generalizations that
right-wing people would gladly use to attack academia."
Orlev said, "If the
university heads try to ignore the issue, we will probably discuss
it in the Education Committee, in the hope that there will be enough
courageous students to express their views."
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