Just Out: Twenty Students Sign Petition Stating That Claims Against Massad Are False

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

Censoring Thought | May 2005

Censoring Thought has obtained a letter, included below, signed by twenty former students of Professor Joseph Massad, stating that the claims made by Deena Shanker that Professor Massad told her to leave his class if she was going to deny Israeli atrocities are unequivocally false. The letter, sent to the Columbia administration, states in clear terms that the signers were in the class at the time, that the alleged incident never happened, and that the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee’s findings regarding the event are incorrect.
Though the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee did not solicit the testimony of these students (many of whom have graduated and some of whom are abroad), and was faced with competing claims by three students (only two of whom were actually registered and another who was allegedly visiting for the day) against a professor and three other students, it oddly found Shanker’s claim “credible.” With the release of this letter, twenty-three students who were verifiably present during the class in question have now come out to deny the charge and exonerate Dr. Massad.
We at Censoring Thought hope this will also clear his name and prevent any further attacks upon his character or his career. We also encourage the Columbia University administration to take more vigorous steps to defend its faculty against the persistent harassment and intimidation that has culminated in these baseless charges.
The Letter:
President Bollinger, Provost Brinkley, Vice-President Dirks:
We the undersigned are deeply disturbed by the baseless accusations by Deena Shanker that Professor Joseph Massad acted inappropriately in a classroom discussion by raising his voice to her and telling her to leave his classroom. Unfortunately, this allegation has been affirmed by the report of the ad hoc committee, which deems it “credible,” and by President Bollinger’s public statements of 1 April 2005 on WNYC radio.
We thus write to you in order to set the record straight and to exonerate Professor Massad from these unjust indictments. In order to correct these highly damaging factual errors, we avow the following:
– That each of us was present during the Spring 2002 class referred to by Deena Shanker in her accusations and by the Ad Hoc Committee in its report.
– That these accusations by Deena Shanker are unequivocally false and that the findings of the Ad Hoc Committee pertaining to them are incorrect.
– That Professor Massad did not in any way order or even suggest to any student that she should leave his class, nor did he raise his voice to the student or react “heatedly” to her claims regarding the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces.
– That Professor Massad consistently treated his students with respect and always adhered to a policy of encouraging students to participate in the class actively in classroom discussion and to think critically about the course materials.
In light of our testimony, we call upon you to acknowledge these facts and defend Professor Joseph Massad against these erroneous charges and the finding that Shanker’s claim is “credible.”
Khalil Al-Salem, CC 2003
Charlotte Anne Wurzburg Watts, CC 2004
Alison Winfield, GS 2005
Graham Moore, CC 2003
Peter Herger, CC 2003
Alden Young, CC 2004
Nihal Godiwala, CC 2002
Benjamin Joseph Bishop, GSAS 2001-2002
Fabian Chrobog, CC 2002
Michelle Kagan, BC 2004
Madiha R. Tahir, BC 2003
Katherine Logan M. McBride, BC 2005
Jill Pasquarella, BC 2004
Mary Catherine Ford, GS 2008
Danielle Friedman [Visiting Student], Brown 2004
Nadim El Gabbani, CC 2003
Alfredo Zaragoza, GS 2004
K. Cyrus Habib, CC 2003
Wasim Salfiti, CC 2003
Layal Bulbul, CC 2005