The Gray Scare -  Lieberman Criticized for Ties to Lynne Cheney
By Glenn Weiser
Metroland - Dec 27, 2001

New York state assemblyman criticizes U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman for his participation in a report that details un-American activities on college campuses.
Last month, the right-leaning watchdog organization the American Council of College Trustees and alumni released a report in which 117 professors and students were accused of unpatriotic activity for having made statements on U.S. campuses that questioned or opposed the antiterrorist military campaign in Afghanistan [Newsfront, Dec. 13]. The Report, titled Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It, was also sent to the trustees of 3,000 colleges and universities, leading critics to call it a McCarthy-style blacklist designed to intimidate dissident faculty members into silence. Now, the Dec. 31 issue of The Nation has provided damning new details about the report, and negative reactions to it have spread well beyond academic circles.

Based on the version of the report first posted on the ACTA's Web site in November, media outlets reported that those mentioned in the report were identified by institution and department or position only. According to The Nation, however, Defending Civilization was, in fact, originally posted on the group's Web site with dissenting professors quoted by name. But when academics cried foul, the group quickly yanked the report off the Web site and then reposted it. In the newer version, names were deleted from the quotes, but the report retained attributions by institution. The Nation termed this a "naming and un-naming of names" and described it as a "weird, anonymous graylist." The ACTA does not mention, let alone explain, the sudden change on its Web site.

The organization, which seeks to restore a traditional, Eurocentric liberal-arts curriculum at U.S. campuses, was founded in 1995 by longtime conservative culture warrior Lynne V. Cheney, the wife of the vice president, and former Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.). While it is no surprise to see Republicans involved with this group, Lieberman has drawn censure from a fellow Democrat for his affiliation.

"I am greatly dismayed by your association with the recently released report of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Defending Civilization," New York state Assemblyman Martin Luster (D-Trumansburg) wrote to Lieberman in an excoriating letter. "The report is quite correct in stating that academic freedom does not exempt professors from criticism. It is equally correct to criticize the report as a thinly veiled effort to inhibit and chill the very academic freedom you claim to support.

"Senator, what were you thinking when you allowed your name to be associated with this embarrassing tripe?" Luster continued. "Surely a person of your erudition, education and experience must understand that this broad-based, anti-intellectual attack is contrary to our American ideals and, despite the lip service contained in the report to the contrary, is a frightening and intimidating document. It is the beginning of a formulation of a new, open 'black-list,' and, more than anything said by any of the individuals quoted in the report, it sows the seeds of civil conflict more deeply than at any time since the Civil War."

List of Metroland Stories by Glenn Weiser                          2001 by Glenn Weiser. All rights reserved.


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