Headline Issues

An irregular feature that scans the national media for items that speak to the campus community.

"The War on Campus,” the cover story by David Glenn in The Nation (December 3), includes these examples of academic freedom decried or denied:

• “Once-Proud Campus Now a Breeding Ground for Idiots.” Headline in the New York Post after a post-September 11 “teach-in,” at which criticisms of U.S. foreign policy were uttered, at City University of New York. It accompanied an editorial reversing the Post’s recommendation for a funding increase for CUNY.

• A “watch list” of 117 comments made by faculty and students in the wake of September 11, issued November 13 by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a conservative watchdog group founded by Lynne Cheney, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities and wife of Vice President Richard Cheney.
But Glenn concludes: “The academy is indeed divided and should be proud of that.”

Only the Pakistanis can rebuild their schools so they meld modernism, Islam and pluralism … The real war for peace in this region is in the schools. When we return, as we must, we have to be armed with modern books and schools, not tanks. ... Until then, nothing pro-American will grow here.”

Thomas L. Friedman, “In Pakistan, It’s Jihad 101,” New York Times, November 13.

Commanded by the Koran to seek knowledge and read nature for signs of the Creator, and inspired by a treasure-trove of ancient Greek learning, Muslims created a society that in the Middle Ages was the scientific center of the world. The Arabic language was synonymous with learning and science for 500 years, a golden age that can count among its credits the precursors to modern universities, algebra, the names of the stars, and even the notion of science as an empirical inquiry.

“… So the notion that modern Islamic science is now considered ‘abysmal,’ as Abdus Salam, the first Muslim to win a Nobel Prize in physics, once put it, haunts Eastern scholars … Some scientists and historians call for an ‘Islamic science’ informed by spiritual values they say Western science ignores, but others argue that a religious conservatism in the East has dampened the skeptical spirit necessary for good science.”

Dennis Overbye, "How Islam Won, and Lost, the Lead in Science, cover story of Science" Times, New York Times, October 30.

November 20, 2001

Headline Issues
Simple Gifts
They Shall Return (and They Did)
The Man from Hope
Take Note!
Datebook: An Idiosyncratic Calendar