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The New Mccarthyism? City University of New York Chancellor, Board of Trustees, Denounce Professors Critical of U.S. Foreign Policy

October 16, 2001


A piece in Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid, The New York Post, reads: "Let’s get clear on one thing: Yes, the First Amendment protects the right of any American–even college professors ­ to say stupid things in public.

“But the First Amendment does not require college professors to speak stupidly in public. That is, while City College of New York has an absolute right to disgrace itself, as it did with Tuesday’s brainless campus "teach-in" (a word born of the morally myopic anti-Vietnam-War movement) we wonder why it happened..."

"The CCNY profs, after carefully studying the horrors of Sept. 11, placed the blame: On America." Just like always. A math professor blames "American imperialism" and the "capitalist ruling class of this country." "Another prays for "peace, not war," because "our diplomacy is horrible."

“It’s sad, but not surprising, that CCNY students become sheep following their teachers in foolishness. One decries that "military action . . . will lead to racism and hate." A black student fears that "rallying around the flag" will make blacks become "tools of the ruling class . . . " "Not surprisingly, the "teach-in" was sponsored by the Professional Staff Congress–the faculty union. The hard-left-wing, mired-in-the-’60s faculty union."

The criticism didn’t stop with the tabloid. Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York, publicly berated the professors in remarks he made at the Harvard Club. "Let there be no doubt whatsoever," he said. "I have no sympathy for the voices of those who make lame excuses for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon based on ideological or historical circumstances. Those who do so should take pause to remember the children left without parents, the wives and husbands who lost their dear ones in these heinous and reprehensible attacks."

The Board of Trustees is also getting into the action. Some trustees drafted a resolution condemning the union’s "un-American" and "seditious" statements, but they instead decided to back the Chancellor’s statement, according to a spokesman. The trustees will vote on the issue at their meeting next week. In preparation for the meeting, the Trustees convened a public hearing yesterday. We’ll go to the hearing in a minute, but first we’re joined by Bill Crain, one of the City College professors lambasted by the Post for his desire for "peace, not war," to explain what happened.


  • Bill Crain, Professor of Psychology at the City College of New York


  • Testimony at the City College of New York Board of Trustees hearing, 10/16/01.

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