Essay Mischaracterized Mission of Campus Watch

To the Editor:

Brian Leiter, in “Academic Ethics: Defending Faculty Speech” (The Chronicle, March 22), smears Campus Watch and mischaracterizes its mission.

Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, critiques Middle East studies by holding professors accountable for their work. It does not “police faculty speech”; how could it when it lacks any and all police power? It does not “inflame public opinion and incite harassment” of academics but engages in careful, multiple fact-checked analyses. Nor need it hide behind the law’s “wide latitude to malicious speech,” because it offers facts. Finally, it does not partake in “orchestrated” onslaughts against professors but engages in its own research according to its unique priorities.

Academics demand a unique immunity from criticism, one that politicians, actors, and athletes could only dream of. Sorry, but we have our First Amendment rights and will responsibly exercise them until Middle East studies repair and revive from their current state of embarrassment.

Winfield Myers
Director of Academic Affairs and of Campus Watch
Middle East Forum
Philadelphia

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