June 18, 2007
Dear Professor Pudup:
We would like to bring to your attention several concerns that we have about one of the
courses that Community Studies will be offering this summer. Dr. Dalit Baum is
scheduled to teach "Violence and non-Violence in Social Change" (CMMU-124) in the
first summer session. A careful review of the course's on-line syllabus (attached) and a
consideration of the instructor’s past performance lead us to believe this course may not
meet professional norms of academic integrity and competence, for the following
1) We have serious concerns about the unusual inclusion of the instructor's biography in
the course syllabus, which stresses not her academic credentials but rather her credentials
as an anti-Israel activist: "During the last several years she has been active with the
nonviolent joint Palestinian Israeli campaign against the Apartheid Wall being built in
Palestine". There are three serious problems with the instructor's statement: First, her use
of the term "Apartheid Wall" is a clear indication that she believes Israel to be a racist
state. Second, her use of the term "Palestine" gives life and legitimacy to a Palestinian
state that does not exist. Both of these examples not only indicate the instructor's
extreme political bias, which could set the stage for indoctrination rather than education
in her classroom, they are also inaccurate and misleading, suggesting that the instructor's
bias could substitute for accuracy, truth and scholarship, and even impede the
dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, a student who does not agree with the
instructor's political bias, and may even find it offensive, is not likely to sign up for this
course. Therefore, not only is the instructor reaching out to like-minded students, which
would seriously limit the points of view that will be expressed, but the inclusion of her
political bias has acted in a discriminatory way, effectively excluding students who do
not share her political beliefs.
2) We are also concerned with the course readings. At least a quarter of them deal
directly with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and each of these takes a pro-Palestinian
3) Another concern has to do with the last two weeks of the course, which, according to
the syllabus, involve activist training and planning of (and presumably following through
on) an activist intervention. Considering the extreme political bias expressed in the
instructor's biography and reading list, we have reasonable grounds for fearing that these
last two weeks will be more politically than educationally motivated and directed.
Moreover, while we understand that teaching students about social activism is a
legitimate academic endeavor, we wonder how a politically biased course which
encourages students to engage in social or political activism and teaches them how to do
so can have any place at a public university like UCSC.
4) Finally, after reading the testimony of an undergraduate student who took a
Community Studies course with Dr. Baum last summer on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
(CMMU 120), we have ample reason to believe that all of our concerns about this
summer’s course are well-founded. The student reported that Dr. Baum used her
classroom as a platform for egregiously politically biased and unscholarly instruction,
and that she sought to indoctrinate students to her anti-Israel perspective, stifled
dissenting opinions and inappropriately encouraged students to engage in anti-Israel
activism. (See Appendix 1 for the student testimony about Dalit Baum’s course “The
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”(CMMU 120), and the instructor’s web posting to students).
In summary, we are concerned that the course which Dr. Dalit Baum will be teaching this
summer will not meet even minimal professional norms of academic integrity and
competence. Moreover, we believe a careful review of the instructor’s proposed
syllabus, together with a consideration of her past performance, would have revealed
these deficiencies, and we wonder how your department could have allowed this course
to be offered as part of the undergraduate academic programming at this university.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Professor of Chemistry, UCSC
Head of UCSC Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Lecturer in Hebrew, UCSC
Member of UCSC Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
cc: Prof. Jaye Padgett, Chair Committee on Educational Policy
Student testimony and instructor’s web posting from “The Israeli-
Palestinian Conflict” (CMMU 120), a course taught in summer 2006
in the Community Studies department at UCSC
1) Student testimony
My last class at UC Santa Cruz was a Community Studies (CMMU 120) course on the
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. What I thought would be an interesting and informative
course exploring the two sides of a very complex conflict, turned out to be so
outrageously one-sided and anti-Israel as to make a mockery of the educational system.
The professor used her lectures, classroom discussions and course readings as a vehicle
for her own personal vendetta against the state of Israel, against Zionism, against Israelis
and against Jews. She even used the class website to distribute information about anti-
Israel protests occurring in the Bay Area and to invite her students to attend. Many times
when I would confront the professor in class or on WebCT, she would argue with me so
harshly that I felt personally assaulted by her. This class went against everything that the
academic world should stand for. It was not about the presentation of diverse ideas so that
students can use the valuable information they learn to construct their own opinions.
Students were fed lies, twisted truths and one sided information- all presented as facts.
2) Instructor’s web posting to students
Author: Dalit Baum (CMMU120_Baum)
Date: Friday, July 14, 2006 10:43am
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY.
Join us for a rally.
MONDAY JULY 17, 2006, AT NOON
ISRAELI CONSULATE, 456 MONTGOMERY STREET, SAN FRANCISCO
A CALL BY BAY AREA JEWS: Break the Siege on Gaza! No War on Lebanon
BEFORE OUR EYES, the people of Gaza are being brutally and collectively
punished by Israel. Israel is using a single captured Israeli soldier as a
pawn to employ its enormous military might and terrorize an entire people.
With the bombing of civilian targets in Lebanon, Israel threatens to
escalate the current crisis into a regional war, with potentially devastating consequences
for people throughout the region.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza, already dire from 39 years of occupation, and a
recent Israeli blockade of basic supplies, is now desperate. Israel's bombing of power
stations and bridges and cutting off fuel supplies in Gaza deprives people of electricity,
refrigeration, pumped drinking water, and sewage disposal. The relentless and deadly
attacks by the Israeli military are compounded by the threat of epidemics and starvation.
Presenting this as an isolated hostage-taking incident ignores Israel's
regular abduction of Palestinians from their homes. Israel holds over 9,000
Palestinians in prison, including almost 400 children. Thousands of these
prisoners are held in "administrative detention" without charges or trial.
They too need to be returned to their families.
With the recent arrest of 64 members of the Palestinian Parliament and many
members of the Palestinian cabinet, Israel is also using this opportunity to
wage an assault on Palestinian democracy. All of this is being done with
diplomatic support and $3 billion in tax-funded annual aid to Israel from
the U.S. government.
As Jews, we cannot and will not remain observers of crimes committed in our
name. We call on other Jews and all people who believe in justice and peace
to take a principled stand against this brutality.
Here's what you can do.
SUPPORT ISRAELIS protesting against their government's destructive actions:
Gush Shalom (zope.gush-shalom.org), Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions (www.ICAHD.org <http://www.icahd.org/> ), New Profile(www.newprofile.org <http://www.newprofile.org/> ).
WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES to demand that the US government stop
funding Israel's war crimes and act to achieve an immediate ceasefire.
MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD! JOIN WITH US TO PROTEST THE SIEGE OF
Organized by: Break the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for a Free
STOP THE US/ISRAEL ATTACKS ON GAZA NOW! NO WAR ON LEBANON