SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – January 7-13, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.


Texas Can Regulate Secular Matters at Religious Colleges, Opinion Says
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/13

US teachers offered support for climate change lessons
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 1/13

Free Speech and (Offensive) Art
Daniel Grant, Inside Higher Ed, 1/13

Stormy waters ahead as ‘disruptive forces’ sweep the old guard
Sarah Cunnane, Times Higher Education, 1/12

Independence, transparency key to research work of ESRI
Frances Ruane, The Irish Times, 1/12

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Academic Freedom Media Review – August 6-12, 2011

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.


TOGO: Government yields to student pressure
Tunde Fatunde, University World News, 8/12

Conditions of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei’s Detention Emerge
Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, 8/12

Ccasu Says not yet contacted by Commission
Frank Namangale, The Nation, 8/12

AAUP Says U. of Virginia Is Giving Group Too Much Access to Climate Researchers’ Documents
Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/11

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Headlines from the President’s Middle East Policy Speech

President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Friday, May 20, 2011.

I always find it interesting to scan headlines after a major policy speech.  The startlingly reveal the biases of the sources, or at least the audiences they seek to attract.  Particularly interesting today are those concerning the meeting between President Obama met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.  I haven’t read all these articles, but here are the headlines with the sources and the links to the articles.  What might you speculate about the articles, the papers or their target audiences?

Netanyahu Tells Obama Israel Can’t Return to ‘Indefensible’ 1967 Borders
Bloomberg – Jonathan Ferziger

Netanyahu and Obama long way apart over Middle East peace plans
The Guardian

President Obama supports a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders …
Wall Street Journal

Bibi and Barack Meet: So Much for the Fireworks
TIME (blog) – Massimo Calabresi

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Support the Libyan Opposition Now!

Earlier today Gaddafi vowed to crush protestors. A leader with no regard for the lives of his citizens.

Muammar Gaddafi addressed his supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square today. Once again his remarks were belligerent, gruesome, and rambling. Both he and his son have indicated Gaddafi will cling to power until his last breath, no matter was the costs to Libya nor how many lives are lost. The United States and much of the world community was hesitant to withdraw its support from Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt after the popular uprisings against them began in their countries.

While I was disappointed by that hesitancy, it was at least understandable. These leaders were allies of the West and, when the demonstrations started, at least when through the motions of promising a degree of reform. Mubarak went so far as to give the end date for his Presidency, after elections in September. Western governments, unsure about what was to come and aware that these leaders had been reliable allies, were hesitant to drop them.


Gaddafi has certainly not offered to step down, not now nor ever. He has also not offered any hint that he would be willing to accept any sort of reforms. Though in power since 1969, all he has done so far is justify his regime by evoking the “Green Revolution,” blamed everyone but himself for what is going on and threaten mass bloodshed.

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Revolution in the Arab World: Why We Can’t Just Stand Aside

Rhapsody playlist: Democratic Revolutions in the Middle East

Here’s a little play list I put together inspired by the wave of democratic revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The play list includes songs celebrating people power and a small sampling of songs from the region. Today, on receiving news from Libya, I added a few songs that go some way, insofar as anything can, to expressing the pure horror and sadness I felt on seeing images of death in the streets of Libya. The images have been shocking, the ruthlessness of the regime truly appalling. This music expresses the pure sadness and outrage I feel.

It is amazing and inspiring to watch these demonstrations! It has been horrifying and shocking to watch the response of the Libyan regime!

It is considered naive to suggest that foreign policy should be based on principle. We are told it is necessary to be Machiavellian in safeguarding our national interest, and in the realm of foreign policy, realpolitik often trumps principle. I disagree. Perhaps I am, indeed, naive, but I believe that democracy, with protection for the rights of the minorities, is a principle that trumps almost all, and our policy ought to reflect that.

In the current wave of peaceful democratic revolutions sweeping the Arab world, US support of the citizen demonstrators has been slow and tepid. This in spite of the fact that sticking to our principles and unequivocally supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators is what is in our best economic and strategic interest. To do otherwise is a risky strategy, a strategy that, should it not go the way proponents believe, will have grave consequences.

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Egypt Decides! Let’s Stand Back for a While

Saturday, 12 February 2011, Day 1 Freedom - Victory Tahrir Square, Photo by Darla Hueske, Creative Commons license, Some rights reserved

These are exciting times! The citizens revolution in Tunisia started a tidal wave of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world, and the resignation of Hosni Mubarak form the Presidency in Egypt proves there is no stopping it.

Fortunately, this wave has not caused the death and destruction tidal waves usually do, because it is the people themselves who are the wave, and it is the elite who are being swept away, not in a bloody coup, but through real people power. Final costs have yet to be assessed. People were jailed and others killed, but violence and destruction to property have been minimal. The police were brutal and ruthless and far too many were killed, but protests continued and the police disappeared quickly. After that, the one significant effort of Mubarak loyalist to crack heads, backfired terribly.

Most Americans are excited by this wave of democracy and have an innate tendency to support it. Others got very nervous when the wave hit Egypt. What happens if the Muslim brotherhood takes over? There are even voices who get far to much airplay in the media and too much ink in the press who say that people in the region are incapable of self governance and need strong arm leadership. The most looney voice has to be Glenn Beck who fears Mubarak’s fall will open the door to a Islamist Caliphate that will spread until it meets and joins forces with a Chinese-led “red” wave on a quest for world domination.
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Academic Freedom Media Review, July 17-23

Academic Freedom Media Review
July 17 – 23, 2010
Compiled by Scholars at Risk

Note: The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here or at this link. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

UC-Irvine Urged Not to Suspend Muslim Student Union /
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/23

BP and Academic Freedom
Cary Nelson, Inside Higher Education, 7/22

Ultimatum to Illinois Over Catholic Studies Instructor
Inside Higher Educatin, 7/21

A Tougher Conflict Policy at Harvard Medical School
Duff Wilson, The New York Times, 7/21

What if College Tenure Dies?
The New York Times, 7/21

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Academic Freedom Media Review, May 29 – June 4

May 29 – June 4, 2010
Compiled by Scholars at Risk

Public conversation on universities is welcome
W. Salters Sterling, The Irish Times, 6/3

Catholic University of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine
Philip J. Crowley, Press Release Bureau of Public Affairs, 6/2

Union challenges new visa system
The UK Press Association, 6/1

Jefferson v. Cuccinelli: Does the constitution really protect a right to “academic freedom”?
Dahlia Lithwick and Richard Schragger, Slate Magazine, 6/1

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Academic Freedom Media Review

Academic Freedom Media Review
May 22 – 28, 2010

Below is the weekly compilation of news articles addressing issues of academic freedom that is put together by Scholars at Risk.

MLA Pushes for End to Ideological Denials of Visas
Inside Higher Ed, 5/28

Groups protest Israel denying US student’s entry
Jeff Karoun, The Associated Press, 5/27
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Global Connections and Exchange Program Combines Technology and In-Person Exchanges

Midlothian High School Exchange

Midlothian High School students planted trees in honor of their guests. | photo courtesy of Jamie Schlais Barnes

Here’s an interesting item from Midlothian Exchange, a local paper in Midlothian, in Chesterfield County, Virginia and a part of the Richmond Metropolitan Area.

Two weeks ago, three men walked into Midlothian High School looking for a better understanding of American culture. Ten days later, they left having changed their own perceptions of U.S. citizens and their students’ perceptions of Arabic culture. Their challenge and that of the students at Midlothian High School is to continue spreading what they learned.

Abdulwahab Albaadani, a teacher at Ibn Majed in Sanaa, Yemen, Amine Slimani, a teacher from the Secondary School of Nedroma in Nedroma, Algeria and his pupil, Mohamed Belmeliami, traveled to the U.S. as a culmination of nearly a year’s worth of video conferencing, cultural lessons, and web logging with social studies classes at Midlothian High School…

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