Monday, July 12, 2010
Leftwing Fascism Takes over Ben Gurion University; Academic Freedom there is Dead
To right, Rivka Carmi, Preident of Ben Gurion University and commandant of the thought police
There shall be no politically incorrect thought on our campus!
The Following is the Official statement by Ben Gurion University defending its Position that Only Leftists and anti-Israel Radicals should Enjoy Freedom of Speech at BGU
Calls for Boycotts of Israel, Denouncing Israel as a Fascist Apartheid Entity, and Calls for Israel's Elimination by Neve Gordon are all Protected Speech
Questioning whether it is healthy for children to be raised by Homosexual Couples is Not!!
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev response
Clarification of the issues concerning Dr. Yerucham Leavitt
In recent days, the internet and press have been awash with reports that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has "fired" Dr. Yerucham Leavitt. The reports have erroneously linked what happened with Dr. Leavitt to the University's response to
Dr. Neve Gordon last year when he expressed his support of an international boycott of Israel.
It is important to clarify the facts and understand why the two cases are very different.
Dr. Leavitt is a retired faculty member (emeritus) who was employed as an external lecturer to teach one course in Medical Ethics at the School of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He voiced his very strong sexist opinions in the framework of the mandatory course on ethics in a discussion related to childrearing by same sex couples. In the ensuing discussion he expressed a theory of how he himself is attracted to all of the women in the room in a manner that the students found extremely insulting and which made many of them uncomfortable enough to complain to the Faculty administration. The students also complained about other administrative irregularities relating to the organization of the course.
During the follow-up investigation, Dr. Leavitt confirmed and reinforced the students' complaints. Not only would he not apologize for his insulting remarks, he reiterated them. Despite the fact that the students refused to return to class for the five remaining sessions, Dr. Leavitt was paid in full for the semester.
Because he was employed as an outside lecturer specifically to teach one course, there is no obligation on the part of the University to continue his employment, particularly when the State of Israel has extremely clear laws about sexual harassment in the workplace and classroom. This is all the more so when he was employed specifically as a teacher but had lost the trust and respect of the students. This decision, which is backed by University management, was made on the basis of academic considerations only. As a retired faculty member, Dr. Leavitt cannot be "fired," nor can he lose his pension; he was notified that he will not be rehired to teach the class next year, which commonly happens with part-time faculty.
This is not the case with Dr. Neve Gordon, a tenured faculty member from the Department of Politics and Government in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. In August of last year, Dr. Gordon published a piece in the Los Angeles Times that called for a boycott of Israel. This resulted in an immediate condemnation by the University's administration, including the publication of an op-ed in the same newspaper less than a week later where University President Prof. Rivka Carmi expressing her criticism of Gordon's position and her belief that if he truly believes in what he claims, he should be working elsewhere.
His position as a faculty member at an institution of higher education in the State of Israel is protected by the basic laws of freedom of speech and academic freedom. Due to the structure of Israeli academia, promotion and administrative positions within the University are decided by academic committees that function outside of the realm of the senior administration. As such, the University has no legal means to limit a faculty member's remarks to the media in political matters.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev supports freedom of expression, opinion and thought, but it cannot tolerate sexist remarks made in the classroom. This has nothing to do with academic freedom, but with accountability to the student body and a commitment to excellence in teaching.
Department of Publications and Media Relations
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev