Sunday, January 09, 2005


Arab Student Gets the Treatment

I had talked about this young man before. He attends school at the Foothills College in California, and a professor of his advised him to get therapy after he wrote a pro-American essay.

Here is an update:

The essay question that Professor Woolcock gave his students that started the whole thing was this:

Dye and Zeigler contend that the Constitution of the United States was not ‘ordained and established’ by ‘the people’ as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America's elite interest.”

As a person who was a member of academia, I find this already bad, because it doesn't allow for differing opinions. The professor wants only one type of result: Agree with me that American government is based on a fraudulent rhetoric.

If he had allowed an either/or view, this would be a great example of academic freedom at work. If he had said "Using the US Constitution as your source document, agree or disagree with Dye and Zeigler's view about the elitist structure of the constitution", it would have been a great think piece that would have required examining concepts and data.

Instead, the person charged with educating these people has chosen the low road of being indoctrinaire.

More than that, he has filed a grievance against the student for daring to bring his name to public attention.

Mr. Al-Qloushi tells us:
Professor Woolcock then filed a school grievance accusing me, under section 5 of Foothill’s grievance code, of an “act or threat of intimidation or general harassment.” If you are confused by this, so was I. Foothill’s Dean of Student Affairs, Don Dorsey, would not let me see the grievance as filed but he summarized it for me by saying, "Professor Woolcock feels harassed by your having mentioned his name to the media."

Yet instead of getting embittered by the process, he has taken the high road, of using dissent as a stepping stone against injustice to correct a wrong:

As a result of growing media attention I am told that Foothill’s Board of Trustees has received hundreds of e-mails. I came to this country to study American political institutions and I have certainly been getting a crash course. I’ve discovered that, as a tax-payer funded college, Foothill has a 5 member publicly elected Board of Trustees who care passionately about Education.

Ironically, as I was going through all of this I learned that California State Senator Bill Morrow was introducing the Academic Bill of Rights to the State Legislature to defend academic freedom and intellectual diversity on California’s campuses. As a result of my own experience and the many stories I have heard from other Foothill students, I am helping to form a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom to get my college and my state to adopt this bill. You can encourage Foothill’s Board of Trustees to pass the Academic Bill of Rights as official school policy by emailing them at

I applaud him. Think about this experience of his:
I remembered back to my high school in Kuwait. Many of my teachers were Palestinian; they hated America, they hated my worldview, and they did their best to brainwash me. I did not leave my country and my family to come to the United States to receive further brainwashing.
We need to stand up against people who would undercut the benefit of academic freedom and learning and know that higher education should be a place to enhance learning, to teach people to examine issues and foster free thinking, based on reasoned response, fact and truth, not to act like indoctrination centers.

Well, let's see. I guarantee you that there were no po people on the Constitutional committee, so that's not a contention, its plain fact. Whether they actually supposed themselves to be representing the common people or not is another matter.

Neither women, approximately 50% of the population of America, nor Blacks, who were, even for census purposes, only 3/5 of a person, were able to vote. Thus, the Constitution excluded the majority of people living in America at that time. How could there be another side to that?

I have no comment on the elite domination part of the question but as far as excluding the majority, what is, is. To answer that part as though the question expressed something that was not true would be a wrong answer.
You miss the point ot the comment - the professor did not allow alternative views. And in fact, if you read the constitution, it is not exclusionary - it is carefully crafted to keep a balance between power groups, trying to maximize who gets imput while keeping minority state groups from being trampled by large groups, and doing a lovely juggling act between the three branches of government to minimize governmental tyrrany - not perfect but working well as a whole. It avoids both the tyrrany of the executive branch, which is moderately weak compared to many nations, and tyrrany of the majority, so that minority states still have an impact.

Considering that it was a document to allow the federation of a whole group of different units, it succeeds remarkably well...concepts of who has the franchise weren't even a part of the document until well afterwards, because they were considered matters for the state.

The question he asked wasn't "Was the constitution written by a minority of the people," but was the document written to insure the power of a ruling elite who made a pretense of "of the people by the people," which is an invitation to say that the American governmental concept is a sham. And that's the only direction he wanted the students to write about. Lack of academic freedom indeed.
What you say is true but, I believe, off point of the essay question (interesting how we call it a question when it is really a demand for information). It seems to me that the demand is worded, not to determine whether the Constitution affords a balance among the branches of Government or among the various States or between the States and the Federal branch but, rather, how it was affected by what classes of individuals. Here, I believe is where you miss the point.

When I read, "show how [the Constitution's] formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time" I think it refers, not to people as residents of smaller, less influential states, but individuals who either have or have not a voice in their Governments (i. e., a vote). My previous post already showed how a majority of the people living in America at the time were, literally, excluded (i. e., denied voting rights).

I ask you. In what sense can the numerical majority of American people be said to be represented in a Government or in the Constitution upon which that Government is founded when they were denied a voice in selecting either the Electors who actually selected the President or its other Governing officials in referenda? There was no accountability built into the system to assure that Office-holders regard the rights of the voiceless majority. In fact, it was almost a century before blacks gained the vote and well over a century before women were granted the vote and, thus, were in a position to hold their Officials accountable.

I'll meet you half-way, though. Regarding the Constitution's domination by elite interest (to the exclusion of the interests of the unwashed masses), I admit that this is debatable and, thus, students should have been given free reign to defend an opposing view.
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