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  1. #1

    Duke order to remake the Middle East studies program

    The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program

    https://news.yahoo.com/u-orders-2-un...122858336.html

    This directly effects Duke. If itís too far into public policy, feel free to close the thread.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmduke2001 View Post
    The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program

    https://news.yahoo.com/u-orders-2-un...122858336.html

    This directly effects Duke. If itís too far into public policy, feel free to close the thread.
    IMHO (where the H disappeared in the casbah), this is a good and newsy topic. I understand there was only a small amount of federal money involved. I will have no comment on the highlighted parts of the story that is linked:

    WASHINGTON ó The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools after concluding that it was offering students a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough ďpositiveĒ imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    IMHO (where the H disappeared in the casbah), this is a good and newsy topic. I understand there was only a small amount of federal money involved. I will have no comment on the highlighted parts of the story that is linked:
    Does that mean it didn't cover The Crusades?

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    I guess they didnít expect some sort of Spanish Inquisition.
    1991 -- 1992 -- 2001 -- 2010 -- 2015

  5. #5
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    I've got no horse in this race, but it seems to me that there are some who confuse freedom of speech with a right to federal funding:

    Palestinian rights groups accused the Education Department of intimidation and infringing on academic freedom.
    “They really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death,” said Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at Palestine Legal, one such group.



    A program based upon criticizing Israel should NOT be publicly funded, any more than an anti-Palestinian program, an anti-Iranian, or anti-Muslim program should be publicly funded.


    This is disconcerting:

    "...whether the Duke-UNC consortium had misused any of the $235,000 it received in Title VI grants, including to sponsor an event in March called “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities.” … the conference featured active members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel — known as BDS — and ... a video shown at the conference featured a performer who sang a “brazenly anti-Semitic song.”

    Again, not an issue of free speech, but public funding.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    Does that mean it didn't cover The Crusades?
    that's funny. Who didn't enjoy the crusades?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    that's funny. Who didn't enjoy the crusades?
    My favorite Indiana Jones movie...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    I've got no horse in this race, but it seems to me that there are some who confuse freedom of speech with a right to federal funding:

    Palestinian rights groups accused the Education Department of intimidation and infringing on academic freedom.
    ďThey really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death,Ē said Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at Palestine Legal, one such group.



    A program based upon criticizing Israel should NOT be publicly funded, any more than an anti-Palestinian program, an anti-Iranian, or anti-Muslim program should be publicly funded.


    This is disconcerting:

    "...whether the Duke-UNC consortium had misused any of the $235,000 it received in Title VI grants, including to sponsor an event in March called ďConflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities.Ē Ö the conference featured active members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel ó known as BDS ó and ... a video shown at the conference featured a performer who sang a ďbrazenly anti-Semitic song.Ē

    Again, not an issue of free speech, but public funding.
    Sorry, but you are drawing an invalid distinction. Government action restricting free speech based on its content raises potential constitutional issues, whether it is framed as a statutory prohibition or a grant of public funds. I would not be surprised if Duke and UNC challenge it on First Amendment grounds.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    that's funny. Who didn't enjoy the crusades?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    My favorite Indiana Jones movie...
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I guess they didnít expect some sort of Spanish Inquisition.
    Highlighted by one of my fav Mel Brooks movies, History of the World, Part I

    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    A program based upon criticizing Israel should NOT be publicly funded, any more than an anti-Palestinian program, an anti-Iranian, or anti-Muslim program should be publicly funded.
    Sure, but I'm going to wildly speculate that Duke would disagree with the notion that their program is "based upon criticizing Israel."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Diablo View Post
    Sorry, but you are drawing an invalid distinction. Government action restricting free speech based on its content raises potential constitutional issues, whether it is framed as a statutory prohibition or a grant of public funds. I would not be surprised if Duke and UNC challenge it on First Amendment grounds.
    Really. An invalid distinction?

    Don't want to get pulled into public policy, so I'll let everyone else fill in their own blanks. Imagine the most loathsome group in the world today (you get to pick) were to receive federal funding to disseminate its stance against another group of people or country. It may be free speech, but certainly no constitutional issue with respect to withholding of funding.

    I would love to see support for your 1st Amendment argument here. Particularly where you are dealing with speech that is not in favor of one principle, but is expressly denigrating another people or country.

    I am not saying this is what the unc/Duke program was doing, per se, but it seems that the groups in question in the article feel it is their "right" to criticize Israel and maintain federal funding.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    Sure, but I'm going to wildly speculate that Duke would disagree with the notion that their program is "based upon criticizing Israel."
    I agree. I was commenting on a remark by one criticizing the investigation, one who would be expected to slant facts in the opposition's favor. If the critical point of contention is the "right" to criticize Israel, I would suggest that is outside the scope of public funding.

    That is why sponsoring the conference noted above would be problematic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    Really. An invalid distinction?
    Yes, invalid. Pulling government funding based solely on the content of otherwise protected speech is not outside the confines of a First Amendment challenge.

  13. #13
    I am not a lawyer but like to annoy actual lawyers with my amateur lawyering.

    My take: while it's possible the Duke and UNC legal teams could try something, it seems like Chevron deference will carry the day, no?

    i.e. BD80 wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    I am not a lawyer but like to annoy actual lawyers with my amateur lawyering.

    My take: while it's possible the Duke and UNC legal team could try something, it seems like Chevron deference will carry the day, no?

    i.e. BD80 wins.
    Chevron would not trump a constitutional violation if one exists. If an agency does something which violates the Constitution, it’s out.

    (and certainly not an annoying post. It’s a good question/issue).
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Chevron would not trump a constitutional violation if one exists. If an agency does something which violates the Constitution, itís out.

    (and certainly not an annoying post. Itís a good question/issue).
    Agreed, but this straightforwardly seems like the Department of Education gets to interpret Title VI of the Higher Education Act (which provides the funding) and gets to decide whether a funded program is meeting the goals of Title VI. The U.S. is not obligated to pay for programs that it feels are underperforming. Unless there's something unconstitutional about the Higher Education Act itself, I'm not sure what the Duke and UNC lawyers can do. At the very least, I'd be interested in seeing the relevant prior case law / precedent that would make this a constitutional issue. (Now I'm being annoying, I'm sure!)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Diablo View Post
    Yes, invalid. Pulling government funding based solely on the content of otherwise protected speech is not outside the confines of a First Amendment challenge.
    But the "protected speech" is outside of the mandate of the federal funding. If it was a pro-something speech in line with the program, I would agree with you. The fact that it is anti-something takes it outside the mandate.

    Pro-Palestine speech would be protected speech within the mandate. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel would not be.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Agreed, but this straightforwardly seems like the Department of Education gets to interpret Title VI of the Higher Education Act (which provides the funding) and gets to decide whether a funded program is meeting the goals of Title VI. The U.S. is not obligated to pay for programs that it feels are underperforming. Unless there's something unconstitutional about the Higher Education Act itself, I'm not sure what the Duke and UNC lawyers can do. At the very least, I'd be interested in seeing the relevant prior case law / precedent that would make this a constitutional issue. (Now I'm being annoying, I'm sure!)
    Not annoying at all.

    I donít think the issue is whether the act itself is constitutional or not, or whether the head of the D of E is implementing the law properly. To me it is whether a directive to promote a religion (ďmake it more positive for . . .Ē) violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or not. Details would really matter in that analysis, and I only know enough to know that I donít know enough about it.
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  18. #18
    Crusades....thatís like a menís beach trip...right???

  19. #19
    Iím having trouble deciphering the reporting on this one. Many articles say the funding was pulled for promoting the positive aspects of Islam, others say itís for an anti-Israel bias*. Those are obviously different things. How it relates to conditions of federal funding I donít know, but itís tough to figure out what the specific issue is.

    *there have been reports of anti-Semitic bias as well but these appear to suggest that criticism of Israel is equivalent to criticism of Judaism.

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