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December 09, 2004


Martin Kramer

The two cases are different. If someone like yourself thinks Doran or Massad or anyone else who's become a public intellectual is so off-base as to be unworthy for tenure, you're free to say so. You aren't a member of the same faculty, and it's a free country.

The egregious thing at Princeton is that Doran's tenure is being dissed by members of his own faculty... anonymously... and in the student paper. There's a vast difference between this, and legitimate public (and hardly anonymous) criticism by outsiders who don't sit on university committees or in the University Senate, which recommend and confer or deny tenure.

I have turned my public wrath in many a direction, but I wouldn't dream of doing it to someone in my own university (even though there are candidates). It's a matter of ethics and corporate responsibility.

the aardvark

Martin: Fair enough - I'll grant you the vital distinction between an in-house vs external criticism. And I think above I made it pretty clear I'm with you totally on the Doran case, it's outrageous.

On Massad, I do think that there is a difference between your expressing personal opinions or engaging in heated intellectual combat, as opposed to a coordinated campaign aimed at getting him denied tenure. I also think that a lot of the specific criticisms are unfair and misleading; his book on Jordan is really good, and I *seriously* doubt a lot of the "anti-Semitism" claims made against him. On the other hand, he's chosen to make himself a controversial public figure, and as such is perfectly open to being criticized by his opponents. And, I suspect, he is quite happy and able to defend himself on that battlefield. I just wish that the level of debate and discussion around him were a bit less ugly and a bit more edifying.

The funny thing is that ultimately, as with Doran, I strongly suspect that all of the agitation is a blessing to him, since it will go straight into the lawsuit file in the event he needs to appeal a tenure denial.

David F.

OT, but Silt has this to say about Tariq Ramadan:

'And back to TV5: the news is over, and now they’re airing a televised debate from Télévision Suisse Romande, on which slimy Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan is now expending about 10,000 words desperately trying to deflect a panelist’s question about whether stoning women to death is OK. Great stuff.'


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