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Pomp, Ponies, and a Picnic: Convocation to Celebrate New Year and Opening of Kendade Hall

Kendade to Encourage Multidisciplinary Study

Barbara Ehrenreich to Give Reading

Art Museum's Inaugural Exhibition to Feature Thomas Cole's 1836 Painting The Oxbow

Going West: Mount Holyoke Opens Satellite Admission Office in California

Rabbi Lisa Freitag-Keshet Named MHC's Jewish Chaplain

Tree Planted to Honor Nora Ahmed Gabbani

Orientation to Offer Everything from Discussion and Poetry to a Magic Bus

Agreement Reached between College and Alumnae Association

Construction, Construction, and More Construction

Front-Page News

Nota Bene


This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

August 30, 2002

Front-Page News

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Over the summer, politics professor Christopher Pyle published a series of opinion pieces in newspapers from Rhode Island to California, asserting that various Bush administration policies and proposals relating to the war on terrorism would violate the constitutional rights of Americans, while failing to identify and stop terrorists effectively. Among Pyle's numerous publications was a June 9 piece in the Los Angeles Times titled "Domestic Spying Catches No One: All this Snooping Never Uncovered any Plot," in which he wrote, "It all seems so innocent. Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to unleash the FBI to surf the Web for possible terrorists. And it could be, except for the insidious fact that each time politicians have 'unleashed' an investigative agency, even for the best of reasons, bad things have happened without improving security." On July 28, the Hartford Courant ran a piece by Pyle questioning a Bush administration proposal to relax limitations on military surveillance on United States soil. A piece that same week in the Providence Journal raised concerns about a proposed domestic spying program through which the Bush administration hoped to enlist "a million informants from the ranks of mailmen, repairmen, meter readers, and others privileged to visit private homes." The administration has since scaled back the scope of that proposed program, called the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. Pyle's pieces have also been picked up by various syndication services and have appeared in numerous other papers.

Islam and Suicide Bombers Pyle was not the only faculty member to score significant op-ed ink this summer. A piece titled "Not What the Prophet Would Want: How Can Islamic Scholars Sanction Suicidal Tactics?" by Sohail Hashmi, Associate Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation, was published in the June 9 Washington Post and was later picked up by a number of other publications. According to Hashmi, "It is simplistic to lump the Palestinian terrorists with al Qaeda in terms of their motivations or how to deal with them. Only the most morally obtuse would deny the genuine suffering of the Palestinian people during the past sixty years or the legitimacy of their demand for a state. But it isn't simplistic to argue that their methods and the destruction they cause are morally equivalent to al Qaeda's terrorism, and, no matter how different the circumstances or justifications, that they amount to murder. This conclusion is supported by the long and rich tradition of Islamic moral reasoning on martyrdom and war. It is time for the Muslim scholars who hold this view to tap Islamic resources to develop and sustain a clear moral position that unambiguously renounces the deliberate targeting of civilians."

'Right-Wing Political Correctness' The New York Times, the Associated Press, and CBS Radio were among the national media reporting on the politically charged decision that will keep a popular American history textbook, coauthored by MHC history professor Daniel Czitrom, out of the classrooms of Texas high schools. When the Texas Board of Education objected to two paragraphs dealing with prostitution in the Old West in Out of Many: A History of the American People, the publisher withdrew the nearly 1,000-page textbook from consideration. The case is one of "right-wing political correctness," says Czitrom. "What you have (in Texas) are these well-organized and well-funded groups ideologically driven to keep out things they don't like," Czitrom told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "I seriously doubt whether the people on the board actually read the book." This year, 250 volunteers with conservative organizations pored over the textbooks, making their recommendations to the Board of Education. As the buyer of 10 percent of the nation's high school textbooks, the Lone Star State wields considerable influence over the textbook industry. Czitrom plans to discuss the case in a seminar this fall. The CBS Radio report was aired by stations in New York, Houston, Chicago, Hartford, and Dallas/Fort Worth. Also reporting the story were the Union-News, WFCR, WGGB-TV 40, and WWLP-TV 22.

He's May, She's September Thomas Wartenberg, MHC professor of philosophy and chair of film studies, was among a number of sources interviewed by writer Andre Chautard for a July 6 Los Angeles Times article about the surge of movies in which an older woman becomes involved with a much younger man. Wartenberg notes that with boundary-pushing shows like Ally McBeal and Sex and the City in the popular media, "women are allowed to express their sexual desire more straightforwardly," opening the door to films such as this summer's Tadpole, Lovely & Amazing, The Good Girl, and Crush, all involving older women and younger men. Can such relationships last? Says Wartenberg, "It seems to me that one of the things that the films are asking us to do is really see how much of our reaction to relationships is conditioned by social assumptions, and as you actually look at two individuals, who knows what could make things work?"

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