Calling the hoaxers to account

Apparently, I'm not the only reader who thinks the explanations of the professors who spread the fake story of Homeland Security investigating  a student for checking out Mao's "masterpiece" doesn't pass the laugh test.

The head of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (Clyde Barrow) wants the university to suspend a student who made up a story about being grilled by federal antiterrorism agents over a library book and to reprimand faculty members who spread the tale.

UMass should punish the student and faculty members, in particular two history professors who repeated the unsubstantiated assertion of the history student to a New Bedford Standard—Times reporter.

The story spurred a flurry of concerned e—mails among UMass faculty, and appeared in a Globe op—ed piece written by Senator Kennedy.

In a Saturday Globe story reporting the hoax confession, UMass spokesman John Hoey said the university had no plans to discipline the unidentified student

'It's unbelievable that this student is not being suspended for a semester. It's even more unbelievable that the faculty who jumped the gun on this story and actively promoted it on campus, the Internet, and blogs will walk away from their misconduct without any consequences."

Barrow said further in an e—mail to the Globe that the professors' are a "dogmatic and zealous group of politically correct but chic anti—Americans."

Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, the two history professors who relayed the student's assertion to the Standard—Times and other reporters, denied that their political views colored their teaching or any action they took in the episode.

Another professor in the policy studies department, Philip H. Melanson, said he left the political science department, housed in the same building as the history department, because of the ''oppressiveness of what I would call the reigning ideology."

''It's left, it's PC, and it's got a vision of world peace stuck somewhere in there," said Melanson, who has taught at UMass for 33 years and specializes in research on political assassination and intelligence agencies

I'd add delusionary to Professor Melanson's description of Professors Pontbriand and Williams. And I bet it would be interesting to view what scholarly research landed them their perches at the University.

Clarice Feldman   12 29 05

Apparently, I'm not the only reader who thinks the explanations of the professors who spread the fake story of Homeland Security investigating  a student for checking out Mao's "masterpiece" doesn't pass the laugh test.

The head of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (Clyde Barrow) wants the university to suspend a student who made up a story about being grilled by federal antiterrorism agents over a library book and to reprimand faculty members who spread the tale.

UMass should punish the student and faculty members, in particular two history professors who repeated the unsubstantiated assertion of the history student to a New Bedford Standard—Times reporter.

The story spurred a flurry of concerned e—mails among UMass faculty, and appeared in a Globe op—ed piece written by Senator Kennedy.

In a Saturday Globe story reporting the hoax confession, UMass spokesman John Hoey said the university had no plans to discipline the unidentified student

'It's unbelievable that this student is not being suspended for a semester. It's even more unbelievable that the faculty who jumped the gun on this story and actively promoted it on campus, the Internet, and blogs will walk away from their misconduct without any consequences."

Barrow said further in an e—mail to the Globe that the professors' are a "dogmatic and zealous group of politically correct but chic anti—Americans."

Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, the two history professors who relayed the student's assertion to the Standard—Times and other reporters, denied that their political views colored their teaching or any action they took in the episode.

Another professor in the policy studies department, Philip H. Melanson, said he left the political science department, housed in the same building as the history department, because of the ''oppressiveness of what I would call the reigning ideology."

''It's left, it's PC, and it's got a vision of world peace stuck somewhere in there," said Melanson, who has taught at UMass for 33 years and specializes in research on political assassination and intelligence agencies

I'd add delusionary to Professor Melanson's description of Professors Pontbriand and Williams. And I bet it would be interesting to view what scholarly research landed them their perches at the University.

Clarice Feldman   12 29 05