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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Harry Mairson




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    Harry Mairson

    Letter to the Editor: Crown Center innumeracy: what counts?

    Brandeis's Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies and its resident fellow Khalil Shikaki have only just emerged the from media spotlight, where Shikaki was accused of being a terrorist facilitator and sympathizer. The Zionist Organization of America got Shikaki in its sights;

    others defended him. Brandeis's response was that we're assumed innocent until proven guilty (good), and that anyone who has real evidence should fess up (true), and that we have complete faith in the American law enforcement system (I'm not so sure). The eerie reminiscence of this scenario to 1950s-era accusations of being a Communist or fellow traveller are lost on no one, to say nothing of the hesitancy of contemporary institutions to make false positive or negative identifications. (Don't forget that there really were Communists.)

    MAIRSON: Mideast Scholarship, A Canard

    The Crown Center for Middle East Studies opens at Brandeis on April 5 with a conference, Middle East Studies in the U.S.: What is the Debate About? An answer to that question was given by Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz in his Solender Lecture at the United Jewish Appeal/Federation Meeting in 2003, entitled Israel in the Eyes of Americans, A Call to Action.

    MAIRSON: Integrated Planning: A French Revolution, Redux

    I want Chief Operating Officer Peter French to keep talking about management of the Universitys finances. But I also want a French Department, I said at the March 3 university faculty meeting. The rejection of Dean Adam Jaffes proposals, and their subsequent withdrawal by the administration, were in turn a kind of French Revolution.
    In an uncomfortable crisis of competing visions for the University, one advocated by the citizens of the faculty, and another by the executive managers of the administration, the citizens prevailed. Now, like the French Revolution, historians revisionist, apologist, and activist are trying to figure out what happened, and what it meant.

    MAIRSON: Denude anti-Semitism? Im against it

    False, phony accusations of anti-Semitism only make the real thing harder to talk about. And untruths in the name of what we believe in whether its philo-Semitism, Zionism, or Holocaust memory detract from the truths that we think are so important. Both impede the free thinking that is essential at a university.

    MAIRSON: Justice Brandeis, does faculty governance matter?

    This academic year has seen considerable tumult over Dean Jaffes suggestions to eliminate teaching Greek, the program in Linguistics, the program in Music Composition, and to reduce faculty in NEJS and Physics. Program terminations could occur immediately. Faculty elimination catalyzed by the demoralization of being told that youre not wanted or needed awaits retirement of tenured faculty. Whats faculty governance got to do with it?