VICTIM OF ACADEMIA’S DOUBLE STANDARD
by Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
An "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is taking place on American campuses today.
They are targeting our learning centers. There is a new generation of students being subjected to a reconditioning of their ideas and beliefs by way of an instructor selection process that insures one-sidedness. The free flowing of ideas is becoming outdated. Today’s students are systematically pressured into a uniform thought. The invaders, though well entrenched in the increasingly monolithic faculty, must make a conscious effort to take over the student bodies offered up to them, since their ideas have been proven to be obsolete by failing everywhere they have been used.
Apparently, these far-out invaders heard the Soviet Union’s radio broadcasts of the first half of the twentieth century. The theory sounded good so they believed in the propaganda and came to Earth to help destroy the thing that prevented that great sounding theory from spreading: American imperialism. But they must have been in hibernation for their long journey to Earth, because they obviously missed what happened afterward. They didn’t know about the complete failure and resulting fall of the communist theory and heroes.
This is a ridiculous explanation, but otherwise, how can you explain what is happening in the U.S. academic circles today?
For example, the University of Harvard has hired a Cuban, Mario Coyula-Cowley, an active member of the Cuban Communist Party and an active member of Fidel Castro’s totalitarian communist regime, to teach architecture and urban planning. The architecture of Castro’s Cuba can best be used an examples of what happens when architecture’s only purpose is glorification of a government in failure. And the urban planning is a disaster for the environment and the citizenry. What were they thinking?
According to a March 4, 2002 article by Ross G. Douthat titled "Albert Speer at Harvard" in the Harvard Crimson, Coyula-Cowley is "a high-ranking government official, the head of the island nation’s urban planning commission." And Coyula-Cowley "helped organize the 1959 rebellion that swept the bearded dictator into power, and has held numerous government appointments over the decades since. Among other things, he is a senior member of Cuba’s National Union of Artists and Writers; an organization, needless to say, to which anyone who disagrees with the government cannot apply."
In the same vein, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is, by all appearances, in the process of dismissing a Cuban American Assistant Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at the Department of Political Science, who is not a member of any communist or Nazi party because he is pro-democracy. Therefore, he is considered an enemy in the eyes of the university faculty – he is a threat to the one-sidedness effort. His name is Juan J. Lopez. The technique they are using is the highly revered process of determining professorial tenure.
Assistant Professor Juan J. Lopez is from a working-class family. He came to the United States with his parents as a child in 1967. He grew up in the Chicago area. He was the only one of his siblings to receive higher education. At considerable sacrifice, he attended the costly and prestigious University of Chicago, from which he earned a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.
Dr. Lopez, has distinguished himself as a teacher, receiving a Teaching Excellence Award from the Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning of The University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999. He also has done considerable service to the Department of Political Science, the Latin American Studies Program and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC.
He says, "I have published four peer-reviewed articles, one book chapter, one co-authored monograph, and a book." Moreover, he is co-authoring his second book tentatively tiled Transitions and Non-transitions from Communism: Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. In an official evaluation of his performance, done three years ago, he was told that the only thing he needed for tenure was to publish a book. But, he adds, "I have paid a high cost for my book on Cuba. I have been practically fired from my university."
In Lopez’s book, Democracy Delayed: The Case of Castro's Cuba, which is being published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, one of the most prestigious scholarly presses, he supports the embargo and criticizes Castro’s tyranny. Johns Hopkins used the evaluations of two reviewers, both of whom recommended publication. One reviewer was particularly laudative. According to the reviewer, the work offers a very timely, theoretically sound and plausible explanation regarding the continuity of communism in Cuba, integrating several themes from mainstream political science literatures.
The documentation Lopez presents in the book was described as impressive, with a proper balance between the author’s individual judgements and what the evidence will support. The reviewer calls it the first scholarly, empirically based comparison of Cuba and countries in Eastern Europe under communist rule. Other scholars, both experts on Cuba and on Eastern Europe, who have read the manuscript, consider it outstanding. Professor Irving Louis Horowitz, the "Dean" of Cuban studies has called the manuscript "rock solid," a first-rate piece.
In his book, Lopez describes how the United States could have, without military intervention, made a transition to democracy possible in Cuba. But, contrary to what many assume, the main objective of the Clinton administration concerning Cuba was to maintain stability rather than to attain democracy. The book thoroughly considers the effect of the controversial American embargo on the prospects of a political transition and concludes that the U.S. economic embargo helps, although by itself is not sufficient to cause political change in Cuba.
Collecting data on Cuba is difficult since the dictatorship makes it impossible for a scholar to visit Cuba to collect data on the democratic opposition, do free surveys in the population concerning controversial issues or otherwise collect data that places the regime in a negative light. Yet, the book presents a wealth of information on the political, social and economic conditions in Cuba. Lopez spent several years painstakingly collecting data from all sources available outside Cuba. His heritage puts him in a position to access sources not available to others.
But the fact remains that Lopez’s Democracy Delayed, is highly critical of the Castro government and provides a path-breaking explanation of the endurance of the dictatorship. In it, Lopez shows why previous accounts are wrong or inadequate. And he supports his arguments with an unprecedented amount of data on the political, social and economic circumstances in Cuba since the 1990s.
But, back to reality. Writing a book critical of Castro, no matter how serious the research and documentation, is a big no-no in the academic circles in the U.S.
So Lopez is being asked to resign for his democratic ideals while Coyula-Cowley is being hired for his alliance to a criminal and totalitarian communist tyrant who has murdered hundreds of thousands and denied human rights to millions.
If Coyula-Cowley had been a Nazi or a right-winger, Harvard would not have hired him, of course! According to David Horowitz, a former radical of the 60s, "the exclusion of conservatives from Harvard’s faculty, does not happen by accident, but by ideological design." That is why being a communist official from a brutal regime is O.K., admirable even. Apparently, in their sick and twisted minds, communists – who killed over 100 million people - are decisively harmless in relation to conservatives.
So, what is that highly revered process that’s being used to eliminate the threat to UIC’s singular thought?
Lopez came up for tenure this year and UIC sent his book to about five outside reviewers. (Note that he hasn’t even been told how many it was sent to, much less who they are.) He says, "Apparently, two of them criticized my book. It is a very mysterious process. I get practically no information about the arguments against me. Nor do I have any opportunity to defend myself. From what I have been able to learn, the criticisms are a very erroneous interpretation of my ideas. My guess is that some reviewers just do not like my political positions and have tried to find something to attack my work. The positive comments of my book from other reviewers have been disregarded.
"It seems that a group of faculty members in my department used the criticism to mount a campaign against me. The vote in the faculty was six in favor of my tenure and eight against. From that point on, my tenure case was mortally wounded."
Lopez has heard only limited, brief comments of what transpired in the closed meeting where his book was discussed from individuals who were present. He was told that politics was involved and that some faculty members attacked Lopez misinterpreting his arguments in the book, apparently reflecting on criticisms in letters from external reviewers.
Lopez has heard the rumor that faculty members in the Political Science Department often do not read the candidate’s work (especially if they don’t agree with its view?). How can they judge a book without reading it? These "scholars" are willing to forgo their honor and rely on the letters of outside reviewers, especially those that agree with their political view. If this is so, Lopez says, "it indicates flagrant professional irresponsibility in the department."
The unanimous vote against Lopez came from the Executive Committee of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Stanley Fish. The unanimity of the vote appears very suspicious.
Afterwards, Lopez requested a meeting with Dean Fish. He showed the Dean a copy of the third-year review and the evaluations of his Cuba manuscript that The Johns Hopkins University Press had used to decide to publish the work. The Dean read the documents and said that he would not change his mind.
During that meeting, Dean Fish personally suggested to Lopez that he should resign from the university.
So, a committee, relying on the letters that were not shared with Lopez, determined that the book was so bad that not only should he be denied tenure because of it, but that he should be so ashamed of it that he should resign. A book hailed by others, professional and prestigious who are willing, to economically back the book by publishing it.
It sure lays a firm foundation for the possibility that the book made such a good case for the political opinion opposite to those voting at the university, that forcing him to resign is the only viable way to defend from critics of the embarrassing, highly un-academic process.
To illustrate what these academic professors have inside their minds and why they conduct their witch hunts; Lopez mentioned the curious incident of a professor who happens to be married to a former powerful Trustee of his university. This professor was strongly opposed to Lopez’ suggestion to bring a pro-democracy Cuban American to speak at the university. This Cuban American would present a contrasting point of view after the presentation by a communist "student" from Castro’s Cuba who was already invited to speak at the university. This type of one-sided presentation happens with alarming frequently on U.S. campuses. It is just simply censorship imposed by the far-left in Academia.
This opposing professor was so secure of his beliefs that he sent Lopez a revealing email. "Considering the 40 years of one-sided, negative, and frequently demented, U.S. propaganda against Cuba (both in the Anglo and Latino media and in classes taught by most professors), to speak and push for equal time for the anti-Castristas sounds surrealist." I have to interject here. Providing both sides of a controversial issue in an academic situation is "surrealist"? He continued, "Were equal time a principle to be fairly honored we would have to invite Fidel himself for a long, long tour of universities, television, and papers, barrios, and public squares."
These outrageous statements are baseless. They do not sound like they are coming from a university professor but from a hysterical and reactionary political fanatic who wants to censor information about Cuba. The opinion that opposes his own he dismisses by calling it surreal. Meanwhile, the facts are very different. The "Anglo and Latino media" are mostly controlled by the left and the balance of information reported is tilted in Castro’s favor and almost 100% against Cuban Americans.
Professors at American colleges and university are also notorious for their pro-Castro bias, even preventing Cuban American students from telling or writing about their experiences. And his final proposition to invite Fidel is utterly insensitive to his victims. Would he suggest inviting Pinochet, P. W. Botha or Hitler to present their side at the university?
Lopez’s tenure process continues as the decision goes on to the Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UIC, who will make her recommendation to the Chancellor by April 8th. And the Chancellor makes the final decision.
The secrecy about details of the decision-making greatly hinders attempts to understand what has happened. But given Lopez’s strong record and the controversial nature of his book, it is likely that the main reason for his tenure denial is his position with respect to the issues of Cuba. Specifically Lopez’s position is not "politically correct" as determined by the majority of members of the American academia.
Lopez feels that he has been victimized because of his strong pro-democracy position for Cuba and advocacy for maintaining the U.S. embargo. He has widely expressed his views in the news media and in his writings. He has granted five interviews by local newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. And has written three solicited articles for Chicago newspapers.
He also has been a critic of the Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, for his campaigns in favor of lifting the embargo on Cuba. One of Lopez’s newspaper articles is titled "Cuba’s government, not people, will benefit from Ryan visit" (Daily Herald, October 24, 1999). Governor Ryan is Ex Officio Member of the Board of Trustees of UIC. Maybe some faculty members and high officials at the university do not want to add a politically controversial professor to the permanent faculty.
The article by Ross G. Douthat at the Harvard Crimson quote history professor James T. Kloppenberg saying "the quality of a person’s scholarly work, not his or her politics, should determine whether he or she teaches at Harvard."
Apparently, this principle is not always used, as the Lopez vs. Coyula-Cowley cases reveal. If you are from the far-left, you stay, if not, you go.
Douthat explains, "None of this should be terribly surprising. There has always been a tendency among America’s intellectuals to downplay the crimes of left-wing regimes, and Castro’s Cuba, in particular, has long been the darling of the American left."
Obviously, there is a double standard in Academia. They favor and give preferential treatment to the criminal communist system and his emissaries like Mario Coyula-Cowley, among others. But, they close their doors and dismiss the people who do not subscribe to the obsolete Marxist dogma, like Prof. Juan J. Lopez, among others.
They trample freedom of speech. This is unacceptable with the ideals of democracy and freedom in America.
Freedom in Academia unfortunately but surely is dying in the U.S. The tool they abuse to accomplish their goals in a would-be honorable one that has deteriorated to the point of being secretive in order to hide the shame of it.
With the recent scandals of pedophilia and other sexual abuses in the Church, "honorable" is becoming a relative term. If priestly honor has become relaxed to the point of horror, academic honor as well can no longer be assumed, but must be continuously earned to be maintained. We must do our part by demanding that all honor be maintained.
These "academics" are as out of touch as the alien invaders of the 1950s science fiction flicks.
We, the people, have to raise our voices and state our disapproval of these censure and brainwashing techniques being used in the learning centers of America. If this is allowed to continue, the result of this madness will be a new generation of single minded and confused people who will deviate from the concept of individual freedom and liberty that the Founding Fathers intended for America.
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COVERING CUBA, COVERING CUBA 2: The New Generation and
the upcoming COVERING CUBA 3: Elian
Author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING
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