(Leila Beckwith, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita from UCLA Medical School, and is SPME Chapter Co-Chair at UCLA, in addition to being a member of the SPME Board of Directors)
The student expresses well the frustration we all feel about the corruption of the academy by
faculty who use their classrooms for political propaganda and not for scholarly, critical inquiry. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, like almost all universities, does have rules and procedures for faculty conduct—and misconduct.
These can be found in U Mass-Amherst Senate Documents #78-025, 80-064, 89-039 that specify
the Code of Professional Ethics for Faculty. Complaints can be made about individual faculty to the Office of the Provost. The University also has an ombudsman with whom a complaint can be discussed without making a formal charge. U Mass-Amherst does go by the AAUP 1940 definition of academic freedom which states that “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject….As scholars….they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinion of others…” U Mass-Amherst also
seems to respect academic freedom of students. So, if the faculty member introduces irrelevant rhetoric about Israel, or is continuously inaccurate about Israel, or does not allow students to correct his inaccurate facts or question his interpretations, then a charge can be filed. By the rules of the university, the student who files is protected from any adverse consequence. However, the procedure is difficult and may not succeed. So it is best to do so with consultation and support from a faculty member or community organization.