When I first read about Ahmad Al-Qloushi and his kerfuffle with a political science professor my blood boiled. I meant to post about it, but with The Fire I just didn't get around to it.
Yesterday Hyscience, one of my favorite reads, posted "U.S. Prof Attacks Arab Muslim Student's Pro-Americanism," about Ahmad Al-Qloushi's plight. So I decided that it is time I weighed in on this.
Let me start by saying there is some dispute about the facts.
On January 6, 2005, FrontPageMagazine.com posted "Dissident Arab Gets the Treatment" by Ahmad Al-Qloushi, in which Ahmad Al-Qloushi tells his story:
I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA.
[. . .]
I arrived in the United States for the first time 5 months ago with tremendous enthusiasm to study the political institutions and history of this extraordinary country.
I enrolled in Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California and immediately registered for “Introduction to American Government and Politics." I was shocked by my Professor’s singularly one-sided presentation. Week after week, I encountered a lack of intellectual and political diversity that I would have more commonly expected to have heard on the streets of pre-liberation Iraq. In this particular class I heard only one consistent refrain: America is bad.
A week before thanksgiving Professor Woolcock assigned us a take home final exam. The final exam consisted solely of one required essay: “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.”
[. . .]
I wrote an essay defending America’s Founding Fathers and upholding the US constitution as a pioneering document, which has contributed to extraordinary freedoms in America and other corners of the world - including my corner, the Middle East.
Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naive for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy." Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment.
The only main stream media account I could find about Al-Qloushi's kerfufle with his political science professor was buried in this San Jose Mercury News:
Needed: a grain of salt
"Arab Student Pushed to see Therapist" the headline began. The Foothill College Republicans blasted faxes to reporters this month complaining that a professor had forced a student to see the college therapist merely because the student wrote a pro-American essay.
This, the students fumed, is why the Los Altos Hills campus should adopt an Academic Bill of Rights. Nationwide, conservatives are pushing the political protection bill, which says that while colleges tolerate different races, sexes and creeds, they only welcome liberal politics.
Ahmad Al-Qloushi seems a poster child for the cause: His political science professor allegedly told him to get psychological help simply because Al-Qloushi wrote a chest-thumping patriotic essay.
But IA was suspicious. Al-Qloushi happens to be president of the Foothill College Republicans -- a fact the group's press materials neglected to mention.
What were the odds of a campaign-perfect case happening to the college Republican president?
"It is a coincidence," Al-Qloushi said, "but this is the case."
IA [Internal Affairs is the Mercury News' political news and gossip feature] tried to confirm Al-Qloushi's story -- and a subsequent release from the group that said the professor had filed a grievance against Al-Qloushi -- but campus officials said they couldn't discuss confidential professor-student matters. The professor wouldn't return calls and e-mails; the therapist simply hung up.
Do I think the mainstream media is so biased that because Al-Qloushi is president of the Foothill College Republicans? I certainly do.
There is a little more to the controversy that might be keeping the MSM away from this story. The political science professor filed a grievance against Al-Qloushi for mentioning the professor's name in the media. According to a press release, the professor filed the grievance through an institutional process normally used by students who experience inappropriate behavior on behalf of Foothill teachers such as an "act or threat of intimidation or general harassment."
I can't dig up any more about the grievance. So what do we have here? This chronolgy, prepared by Al-Qloushi and edited by California Yankee, sums it up succinctly:
Chronological Overview of Foothill Outrage
November 24th: An Essay is Assigned in Ahmad Al-Qloushi political science class, the topic is: "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 representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America's elite interest."
Ahmad Al-Qloushi submits an essay of which the thesis is, "The US constitution was a very progressive document, which has contributed to freedom beyond America's borders."
November 29th: The Professor returns the paper without a grade and he asks Ahmad Al-Qloushi to see him the next day.
December 1st: Ahmad Al-Qloushi Sees the Professor, who tries to intimidate Al-Qloushi into seeing the school therapist. He says statements like, "America is not God's gift to the world" and "Your views are irrational" and "You need regular psychotherapy" He even threatens to call the Dean of International students (this Dean has the power to take away student's visas)
Dec 2nd: Ahmad Al-Qloushi and the Foothill College Republicans decide to publicize the outrage. The message being, "This is not an isolated case...The only way to guarantee that intellectual diversity is respected is to have Foothill's elected Board of Trustees adopt the "Academic Bill of Rights."
Dec 4th: www.davidlimbaugh.com and www.townhall.com/clog pickup this story
Dec 5th: Ahmad Al-Qloushi is a guest on a talk radio show in Kansas City. Numerous e-mails are sent to Board of Trustees members expressing shock and urging them to pass the Academic Bill of Rights as official school policy.
Dec 6th: Ahmad Al-Qloushi is a guest on the Brian Sussman Show on 560 KSFO in Northern California.
Dec. 7th: The Professor files a grievance against Ahmad Al-Qloushi for harassment.
Dec. 8th:A local GOP group donates the money for us to send press release #2 on a newswire service.
Dec 11th: Ahmad Al-Qloushi to appear on Barbara Simpson Show.
I wish the main stream media would put their resources to work to pressure the college to tell its, or the professor's side of this kerfuffle. So far we only have one side and there is always more than one side these issues. After several weeks it looks like the MSN is going to leave it to the blogosphere to sort this out.
Many in the blogosphere have been posting about this story.
Joanne Jacobs posted:
If the student's tale is accurate, it's outrageous. It's one thing to flunk him -- I think the essay is not bad for a 17-year-old immigrant -- quite another to treat him like a lunatic because he thinks the Founders were good guys and is grateful America liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.
Joanne also posts that one of Roger Simon's commenters posts a link to Rate Your Professor. There are quite a few complaints about political bias and favoritism, though the instructor also has some defenders.
InTheBullpen posts that no professor should push their own beliefs, no matter how right or how wrong, on any student.
At Riehl World View, Carnivorous Conservative posts that this yet another example of liberal academic bias and wonders where Foothills College finds people stupid enough to pay to attend.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that I got the name wrong for the Carnivorous Conservative's blog. It should be, and now is Riehl World View instead of Right World View. I extend my apologies for the error.
At Say Anything, Rob sums it up nicely:
One has to wonder…if this professor hates America and its history so much (and I think “hate” is the right word given his reaction to this student’s essay) why is he still living here? Canada isn’t that far away. South America has several very nice countries he could live in. And there’s always Europe
My apologies to Dave Huber at Hube's Cube for this post's headline I found the "P.I.S.S. - Post-Indoctrination Snobbery Stress acronym there.
Other blogs covering this story include:
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy