Book Names 'Dangerous' Professors in America · 05 March 2006


By Anika Clark--BU Daily Free Press--03/01/06

In his new book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, author David Horowitz attracted criticism for classifying professors at universities across the United States as "dangerous" because of their liberal teachings -- to which some of these professors compare the work with the infamous Communist witch-hunt of the 1950s.

The book profiles professors whom Horowitz accuses of violating a long list of academic abuses, including teaching outside their qualifications as well as introducing political agendas into the classroom. The list includes Boston University professor Howard Zinn and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky.

George Wolfe, director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Ball State University who was among the listed, labeled Horowitz's actions as "the new McCarthyism."

Northwestern School of Law professor Bernardine Dohrn, who was also profiled by Horowitz, said he agreed with Wolfe's assessment.

"I grew up in Wisconsin during McCarthyism," Dohrn said in an email. "Horowitz's new version is as distasteful, shabbily researched and appalling in its pandering to fear."

Horowitz dismissed blacklist allegations as ridiculous, saying they came from "people who want to stifle free speech and from those who think professors should not be accountable for what they teach."

"The only blacklist in American education is the one conducted by leftists like the professors in my book," he continued, adding that liberals have excluded conservatives from academic faculties across the country.

Many professors have also rallied against alleged inaccuracies in Horowitz's writing.

"It's libelous and slanderous," said Aminah McCloud, an associate professor of Islamic Studies at DePaul University, adding that she worries the book may prevent students from enrolling in certain classes.

"He mixes partial truths with lies," she said.

One of these lies, McCloud said, was Horowitz's assertion that she is a member of the Nation of Islam, a group to which she said she has never belonged.

Other professors claimed Horowitz unfairly attacked peace studies programs.

"I don't know why he finds the idea of peace so outrageous," Gordon Fellman, a Brandeis Sociology professor, said in an email. Fellman added that Horowitz targeted him because of his involvement in peace studies.

Horowitz said that none of the peace studies programs he reviewed have a professor of military science on faculty. A military perspective would be necessary for universities to conduct peace studies that were not merely "anti-military, anti-American propaganda programs," Horowitz said.

Sara Dogan, national campus director of Students for Academic Freedom, an organization working to curb biased teaching in higher education, said she does not believe Horowitz is conducting a widespread attack against the peace programs. She did, however, explain that many of the professors portray non-violence as the only form of conflict resolution while they promote a strong anti-military agenda.

Dogan said she thinks the McCarthyism comparison is "a ridiculous claim," adding that professors have always been criticized because of their alleged use of classrooms to force their political views upon students.

Although the book has inspired outrage, many professors said they were amused and honored by their inclusion.

"My basic response is that I'm tickled pink to be included," Rutgers University professor Michael Warner said in an email. "Everyone I know has been congratulating me."

Warner alleged that, along with two other professors, he was included in the book because he is openly gay, a charge which Horowitz denied.

"If he's silly enough to feel threatened by what we write," Warren said, "then I'm glad to have ruffled his feathers."