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Author Topic: Antisemitism and Tenure Denial  (Read 17032 times)
moishe1948
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« on: April 29, 2012, 11:56:56 PM »

A recent brief article on a tenure-denial case and allegations of antisemitism at Emory made me wonder on the extent to which antisemitism still exists in American higher education (see here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/equal-employment-agency-rules-against-emory-u-in-tenure-denial-case/42708#disqus_thread). It might seem a bit absurd to ask this question given the in-roads Jews have made at all levels of the American university. But, this recent case seems to confirm at antisemitism is alive and well at Emory (according to the EEOC).

Have any of you had any first or second-hand experiences in this regard? Fortunately, I have not at my institution. But, I might be an anomaly.
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samspade
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 12:16:11 AM »

I have seen it first hand at my present school with a Holocaust denying crank who chalks up the ills of America to the Jews. This is one case where tenure does the academy a disservice. My skin crawls every time this person opens their mouth.
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infopri
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 12:25:32 AM »

I'm happy to say that I have not seen anti-Semitism at any of the schools I've been at.  I've run into an occasional anti-Semite (very, very rarely), but they don't represent the institution.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 12:31:23 AM »

I would be interested in reading the text of the EEOC letter (which has not been made public?).  According to the article you linked to, Moishe1948, Butler charged discrimination on two grounds--that he is Jewish and that he is U.S.-born (foreign language dept.).

The original CHE article about the tenure-denial case, from 2010, does not raise the issue of antisemitism or related discrimination:  http://chronicle.com/article/Denial-of-Tenure-to/66277/

It doesn't appear AAUP ever issued a report on this case (or if they did, I can't locate via the search engine on their website), even though their involvement is clear from the 2010 news coverage.
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michigander
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 5:45:41 PM »

I'm not sure it rises to the level of antisemitism, but I was irritated every time I had to use a vacation day to observe the high holy days while my Christian colleagues had the benefit of an academic calendar that automatically excused them from working on their major religious holidays without any loss of earnings.  This was the case at some but not all state universities and some  but not all privates.  [I was a staff member with a set schedule, so I didn't have the ability to arrange my schedule around my holidays.]  It was never an issue at the Catholic liberal arts college where I worked.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 5:46:46 PM by michigander » Logged
seniorscholar
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 6:33:10 PM »

I'm not sure it rises to the level of antisemitism, but I was irritated every time I had to use a vacation day to observe the high holy days

This seems quite odd to me in this day and age. I've been at my large urban public university for 30-some years, and we get every fall a list of religious holiday dates: not only Christian and Jewish but Eastern Orthodox, Muslim, Bahai, Hindu, and half a dozen more. Faculty may take the day(s) off [one faith only, not all of them], and we are exhorted not to plan any required presentations, exams, or other essential and compulsory class occasions on any of those dates, or, if this is impossible, to make arrangements for an early exam or a late presentation (for example) for students who will be missing class.
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mouseman
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 7:04:32 PM »

I'm not sure it rises to the level of antisemitism, but I was irritated every time I had to use a vacation day to observe the high holy days

This seems quite odd to me in this day and age. I've been at my large urban public university for 30-some years, and we get every fall a list of religious holiday dates: not only Christian and Jewish but Eastern Orthodox, Muslim, Bahai, Hindu, and half a dozen more. Faculty may take the day(s) off [one faith only, not all of them], and we are exhorted not to plan any required presentations, exams, or other essential and compulsory class occasions on any of those dates, or, if this is impossible, to make arrangements for an early exam or a late presentation (for example) for students who will be missing class.

Actually, many places do not have real accommodations in place for non-Christian holidays, or more correctly, non Catholic/Protestant holidays.  All major Catholic/Protestant holidays are scheduled as vacation days, while taking vacation on Hindu, Muslim, Jewish holidays, holidays of the Orthodox churches, etc are subject to the willingness of the university to make accommodations.  Otherwise - you have to take vacation days.  Check out your Faculty handbook and you will see.

Basically, by declaring Christmas, Easter, and Sundays to be "non-religious" holidays, the federal and state governments were able to create vacation dates that are discriminatory against non-Catholics/Protestants.  Sort of the way that Christian religious laws are disguised as non-religious issues and forced on everybody, regardless of belief system, or lack thereof.

On the other hand, it's not really Antisemitic, since it is discriminatory against a whole host of religions. 
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 7:18:13 PM »

On the east coast, many colleges and universities have "October breaks" which coincide with the high holy days about half of the time.

I had always assumed that this was intentional, but I could certainly be wrong.

I do know that I was really surprised when I first started working for a state university (in the midwest) that had no October break -- and comparatively few Jewish students!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 7:21:24 PM by systeme_d_ » Logged

no_quarter
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 12:17:57 PM »

Yes, it still exists and is one of the most underrated forms of discrimination in higher education.
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saltwater
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 1:55:32 PM »

It also sounds like this case might also be about the status of Yiddish in a German departments. 
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larryc
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 3:20:09 PM »

At my old job in the Bible Belt three members of our 12 person department were Jews. One was quite observant and we tried not to schedule anything that would prevent him from getting home by dark on Friday nights. I was never aware of any antisemitism directed at them by faculty or staff.

One of them did tell me about receiving a virulently antisemitic paper in a Western Civ class he taught. The paper told of how Jews had secret rituals where they sacrificed Christian children, controlled the world economy, the whole nine yards. The student was the daughter of a prominent Christian Identity pastor and militia leader.
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kaysixteen
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 3:28:32 PM »

How did the professor react to the 'Christian' Identity-related paper?

I can see allowing people to take religious holidays off without penalty, incurring vacation or sick time, etc., but how easy would it realistically be at a large diverse public uni to have a professor not be able to schedule a test, etc., on any day that any possible given religion might have a holiday on?  I recall in grad school having to choose to miss department social functions that always conveniently seemed to be scheduled on Sunday, since I was the only one who would be wanting to attend church services then instead.  I dealt with it.  Now I did and do not like it, of course.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 3:34:12 PM »

It's not that hard to check a calendar and maybe do a bit of quick research to make sure that a date doesn't coincide with a religious holiday.
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larryc
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 3:35:54 PM »

How did the professor react to the 'Christian' Identity-related paper?

I am trying to remember how the story went--I think the student stopped coming to school shortly thereafter and he did not have to deal with it at all. He also said he was convinced that the student, a teenager with little experience with the world outside her compound (never mind outside that corner of the state!) had no idea he was Jewish, despite the fact that her wore a yarmulke. He was shaken by the incident.

We had some scary folks off in the woods in that part of the country...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 3:36:33 PM by larryc » Logged

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kaysixteen
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 4:52:13 PM »

Obviously you can understand my point, I suspect-- or not?  At a large state university there may be a dozen or so major world faith groups represented amongst the student body, with numerous sectarian variations, not to mention other smaller religions, all of which could easily have holidays within the year that they would want to have listed as 'no test date' dates.  This would possibly make testing and paper due date assignments all but impossible, if it really is true that such a policy is to be broad-based.  And if it is not, then it is discriminatory against practitioners of religious groups that do not make the cut. 
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