Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Reports

The following links below are to 1) the draft report of the select committee on academic freedom and to 2) the final report. The original report drafted under the supervision of Representative Gibson Armstrong, sponsor of the authorizing legislation (HR 177) for the Pennsylvania Select Committee on Academic Freedom in Higher Education of the Pennsylvania House. The Committee held four sets of hearings between September 2005 and June 2006 at locations throughout the state. It differs from the final report in several crucial respects. The final report was the product of an eleventh hour coup by the Democratic minority on the committee and two Republicans. In the final report, the entire “Summary of Testimony” – in other words the actual report of what transpired – was deleted. This made possible the insertion of a new “finding” to the effect that abuses of students’ academic freedom in Pennsylvania were “rare.” This was duly reported by the press as the central finding of the Committee. But the deleted “Summary of Testimony” (preserved in the draft) explained exactly why claims of such abuses were rare: Prior to the Pennsylvania hearings, students had no rights that would allow them to complain about such abuses and there was no grievance machinery available to them to air complaints about violations of their academic freedom. The recommendations in the final Committee report were also watered down. Every reference to the need to create “student-specific” rights, for example, was removed. This was an attempt to protect university administrators from embarrassment. But it did not prevent them from recognizing that a serious gap in university regulations did exist, which Temple and Penn State proceeded to rectify. The new student-specific academic freedom policies adopted by Temple and Penn State are contained in the Appendix to this report, and are included in the Appendix to the official report as well.

1) Draft Report

2) Final Report

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Article: Two Horowitz protesters arrested

Media Credit: MPD
Grace Mitchell was arrested Wedensday night on suspicion of resisting law enforcement

Media Credit: MPD
Ball State University junior Cassandra Reed was arrested on suspicion of resisting law enforcement and three counts of battery of a police officer.

Prank pizza call, 50-foot projection, attempted pie-throwing greet speaker at Ball State
From Staff Reports

From: Ball State Daily News on Line

UPDATE: NewsLink Indiana reports that both Cassandra Reed and Grace Mitchell have been released on bond.

Look for updates at DNOnline and in tomorrow's Daily News. See more coverage on NewsWatch at 9 p.m., on CardinalVision 57 and Muncie Comcast channel 61.

Conservative activist David Horowitz got a 50-foot "not welcome" sign, 15 cheese pizzas and nearly a cream pie in the face before speaking at Ball State University about political agendas of professors Wednesday night.

Two women were arrested by university police near the Teachers College in connection with the pie-throwing incident, but the identity of the pizza pranksters remains a mystery.

Sgt. John Foster said one woman, Ball State junior Cassandra Reed, ran at Horowitz with a cream pie in her hand. Director of Public Safety Gene Burton stood between the two, and he and other officers were hit with the pie, Foster said."Gene saw it coming and got in the middle," he said.The police pursued Reed and Grace Mitchell, Columbia City, who was with Reed at the time of the attack, Foster said.

Reed was arrested on suspicion of resisting law enforcement and three counts of battery of a police officer, and Mitchell was arrested on suspicion of resisting law enforcement, Delaware County Jail officials said. Reed remained in jail on $17,500 bail, but Mitchell was released Wednesday night on a $2,500 bond, officials said.

Horowitz, whose speech was sponsored by the College Republicans, Young America's Foundation and Student Government, said he hoped the people involved in the pie incident would be punished.

Horowitz received a similar welcome during stops at other Indiana colleges. During a speech at Butler University in 2005, he was struck in the face with a pie. A few days later while speaking at Purdue, a streaker interrupted his speech.

Horowitz has a history with Ball State. In 2006, he wrote "The ProFessors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" about how universities teach students what, not how, to think. He criticized George Wolfe, professor of music and coordinator of outreach programs for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, claiming he had no qualifications to teach peace studies.

SGA President Asher Lisec said the organization was not aware Horowitz was a controversial speaker when it decided to co-sponsor him and did not think he would be speaking across party lines. However, she said she supports activities that encourage students to be more politically active and aware.

"Political conversation is something that is lacking at the university level," she said. "I'm happy people are taking an interest in politics, but I don't think it should have been taken to the level it was taken to."

To protest Horowitz's speech, students projected a sign saying "Horowitz not Welcome" on the south side of Teachers College. In addition, someone placed a fake order for 15 pizzas and had them sent under Horowitz's name to the site of the speech.B

en Heighway, assistant manager of the Pizza Hut on Wheeling Ave., said an order for about $230 worth of pizzas and breadsticks was placed around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. to be delivered to Horowitz at Teachers College at 7 p.m. All the food had to be thrown away.

"I went with the driver because we had a lot of food and when we got there a lady was like we can't come in," he said. "A teacher came out and asked if we needed help, but soon another girl came out and said we needed to leave because I guess other stuff was happening."

Despite the problems, Horowitz's speech began about five minutes behind schedule.

"You can't get a good education if teachers are only telling you half of the truth," Horowitz told the audience of more than 100 people. "If you're getting an instruction that excludes other points of view you won't come out smarter."

When Horowitz attended college, he said his professors graded assignments based on how he made and assembled arguments. Now, universities are less academic and scholarly, but more political, he said.

"You don't go to a doctor expecting to get a speech about the war in Iraq and you shouldn't get one from your teachers," he said.

During the speech, some audience members yelled at Horowitz that he was only controversial because he was a liar.

Horowitz said he did not lie, and such accusations were simply misinformed character attacks.

He also said feminism was a leftist ideal and Ball State's Women's Studies program taught only one side of the issue.

Betsy Mills, SGA president pro-tempore, told Horowitz that she had been taught in her women's studies classes to ask why things happen and look at both sides of the issue. Horowitz replied by saying feminism is not equality, and Mills was not receiving information on both sides.

When he talked about Wolfe, Horowitz said a professor who teaches saxophone does not have the qualifications to teach peace studies. For the same reason, he said it was also unethical for Wolfe to recruit students for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

While Wolfe did not attend the event, he said he did not condone the mistreatment Horowitz faced on campus Wednesday. The provocative acts, which he said were probably designed to intimidate Horowitz, actually sent a bad message.

"Horowitz has put himself in a situation where he speaks about highly politically charged issues and uses language that's offensive and raises people's emotions," Wolfe said in a phone interview after the event. "When people act on these negative emotions and feelings in a bad way they strengthen his position which is counter-productive to what they intended to do."

Article: OUR VIEW: Protesting protocol

AT ISSUE: Intelligent discussion, debate would have greater effect than food
Ball State Daily News

David Horowitz is no stranger to flying pies.

Wednesday night, the controversial speaker was also subject to another type of pie - the delivery pizza pie variety.

Regardless of humor, the plethora of pies were not appropriate or effective methods of protesting Horowitz's presence on campus.

It's a common occurrence for people to protest against Horowitz wherever he speaks. In terms of maturity and legality, some methods are simply more appropriate than others.

A fake phone order for 15 cheese pizzas was called in to the Wheeling Avenue Pizza Hut under Horowitz's name. When the food arrived, event organizers were confronted with $230 worth of food and confused Pizza Hut employees were left without due payment.

The protestors who think Horowitz's ideals are absurd should know that acts like pie-throwing and ordering $230 of food under false pretenses are no better.

These childish acts are the equivalent of throwing spitballs at your middle school science teacher. It might seem fun, but it's far from productive.

The pizza prank also cost an unaffiliated business labor and supplies, taking focus away from legitimate business elsewhere.

This is not to say that all of Wednesday night's protestors handled things inappropriately. Other objectors took more mature and legal roads to get their point across, including handing out flyers and attending Horowitz's lecture to ask questions.

Even if Horowitz does not have the most popular opinions, legal means of expression are going to have the most effective results. Foolish games involving third parties and felony assault charges are far from effective dialogue.

Horowitz needs a rock-solid challenge, and an fluffy airborne dessert is not the solution. Opponents must enter and dominate an intelligent debate with a logical argument.Only then will Horowitz's critics savor the sweet taste of victory.