Intimidation Free Campuses

Position Paper on Intimidation-Free Campuses
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Prepared by Edward S. Beck, Ed.D., CCMHC, NCC, LPC
President and CEO Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Approved by the SPME Board 12.10.02

The modern university has historically striven to be an honest forum for competing ideas, freedom of speech and academic freedom. It has prided itself on being a citadel for peoples of all beliefs, persuasions, faiths and ethnic groups to come together to reason, learn and grow together in a safe and secure environment, despite the harsh realities outside the academic world. Through vibrant, honest exchanges and with academic rigor and integrity, new facts and understandings emerge from existing knowledge. The world benefits from the resultant products this process generates.

The have been periods in history when honest academic discussion has been severely compromised, intellectually and physically, as a result of overt and covert intimidation by governments, radical interest groups or others with hostile agendas. These forces seek to stifle legitimate academic debate with varying forms of intimidation. These include, but are not limited to: ad hominem humiliations and deliberate historical revisionism in class; formal and informal university and extracurricular sponsored events which promote falsehoods and prejudice, grade prejudice or other formal and informal sanctions; menacing demonstrations; mob behavior, and deadly physical and terrorist attacks and other forms of intimidation. By virtue of the inability of these constituencies to communicate and reason honestly through persuasive and rational discussion, these forces seek to impose their views by intimidation, unwarranted sanctions and, sometimes force.

In recent months, we have seen the discussion of the Middle Eastern situation violated by many of these forms of intimidation. While these incidents occur in the classroom, professor’s offices and extracurricular activities, it has been noted that sometimes the instigators have identities and backgrounds that are obscured and who may not be members of the university community.

Academic free expression without fear of intimidation on college campuses is a fundamental right, which must be supported. Nevertheless, intimidation has occurred against Jewish students and faculty and other sympathetic members of the university to Israeland the Jewish people at San FranciscoStateUniversity, Universityof London, WarwickUniversity, ConcordiaUniversity, HebrewUniversityin Jerusalemand other campuses throughout the world. This is historically reminiscent of similar methods to incite violence at European Universities during the eras of the Inquisition, Anarchism and Fascism. It will no longer be tolerated in modern democracies. To this end, we are supportive of the recent developments at San FranciscoStateUniversitywhich acknowledged the problem and developed programs to address it with integrity.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East supports honest, constructive and resolution-oriented academic debate about the complex and difficult issues in the Middle East including the expression of honest differences of opinion. Scholars for Peace in the Middle Eastbelieves that people can disagree passionately on campuses, but they must do civilly and without fear of intimidation. Scholars for Peace stands ready to facilitate and sponsor such discussions and programs on campus.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East will not support or condone any kind of intimidation. Scholars for Peace in the Middle Eastregards any form of intimidation as unacceptable and believes perpetrators intimidation may be guilty of moral turpitude and possibly criminal behavior. Scholars for Peace in the Middle Eastbelieves that perpetrators of such actions should be prosecuted to the full extent of appropriate university sanctions and, when applicable, the legal justice system.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Board of Directors

Edward S. Beck, Susquehanna Institute, President and CEO, SPME
Stanley Dubinsky, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Rev. India E. Garnett, M.Div., United Church of Christ, PA (Secretary/Treasurer)
David Goldman J.D.,CPA, Amper, Politziner and Mattia, CPA’s, NJ
Peter Gomori, Ph.D., St. Francis College, NYC
Charles Isbell Ph.D., Louisiana State University
Judith Jacobson, Dr. P.H., Columbia University
Patricia Jennings, Ph.D., University of California-
DavisEfraim Karsh, Ph.D., Kings College, University of London (UK)
Yigal Levin Ph.D., University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Ruth Lichtenberg-Contreras, Ph.D., Vienna Austria
Robert S. Mirin, Esq.,
Ahmad and Mirin, Harrisburg, PA
Moshe Ma’oz Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Daniel Pipes Ph.D., Middle East Forum and
Rabbi Dr. Ilana Rosanksy, Ph.D., Salem State University

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is a grassroots, independent, faculty-driven group of over 300 members advocating on over 145 campuses, world-wide, that Israel has the right to live in peace with its neighbors with safe and secure borders. SPME has formed to address the increasing number of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

SPME Network members come from diverse academic disciplines, faith groups, ethnic backgrounds, gender orientations and national origins. We are Liberals. We are Conservatives. We are Moderates. We are Independents. Some of us support the current government and some of us don’t. Yet we are for peace and prosperity for all. We believe there is room for negotiation. We are trying to counterbalance the well-documented and increasing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic forces that have made their way to the college campuses today, as we believe they do not contribute to peace for anyone effected.

For further information contact: Edward S. Beck, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East c/o Susquehanna Institute, 624 Sandra Ave, Harrisburg, PA 17109-5816, Telephone 717.545.5500, Email:

Intimidation Free Campuses

Position Paper on Intimidation-Free Campuses
  • 0

Edward S. Beck

Co-Founder and President Emeritus, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Contributing Faculty Member, Walden University

Read all stories by Edward S. Beck