Tag Archives | University

A 2009 Letter From Occupy University Of California

Via We Want Everything, looking back on an Occupy California manifesto from calling for the disruption and occupation of university spaces, using tactics which are now more familiar:

Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the university is bankrupt. This bankruptcy is not only financial. It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making. No one knows what the university is for anymore. We feel this intuitively. Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market. These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls.

For those whose adolescence was poisoned by the nationalist hysteria following September 11th, public speech is nothing but a series of lies and public space a place where things might explode (though they never do).

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American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies

Photo: Lovelac7 (CC)

Photo: Lovelac7 (CC)

An alarming (or is it alarmist?) report by Daniel Golden for Bloomberg News:

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.

The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.

Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.

The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million.

Hearkening back to Cold War anxieties, growing signs of spying on U.S. universities are alarming national security officials.

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Is Tony Kushner The New Helen Thomas?

Playwright Tony Kushner. Photos: Timothy Herrigan/Courtney Hamilton (CC)

Playwright Tony Kushner. Photos: Timothy Herrigan/Courtney Hamilton (CC)

Jewish Playwright has honorary degree restored by City University of New York after it had been stripped because he was labeled too critical of Israel.

First, it was Helen Thomas.

After the veteran White House correspondent spoke inelegantly once about her feelings about Israel—and apologized, but to no effect—she was blackballed at the instigation of strident Israeli supporters and her career achievement-standing journalism awards were stripped. She became persona non-grate with many media outlets joining in the denunciations of a colleague they honored for decades.

Many at the time suspected the wrath was especially severe because she is an Arab-American. Right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter even asked if “that Arab” should be allowed near the President.

Now a new flap driven by some of the same issues involves a Jewish Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a leading academic institution in New York.

His name, Tony Kushner, best known for the brilliant Angels in America plays that bravely took on AIDS and the hypocrisy, if not criminality, of a the prominent Jewish lawyer Roy Cohen who was an aide to the late fanatically anti-communist symbol, Senator Joseph McCarthy.… Read the rest

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