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Intellectual dishonesty

Reader comment on item: Bad News from Slippery Rock

Submitted by Maureen (United States), Apr 20, 2006 at 22:59

The universities sell themselves in myriads of ways:

The Financial Times, March 15, 2006, ran ads placed by Georgetown and Harvard Universities in which the universities unctuously thanked a Saudi for his generous contribution, proving that universities, like oil companies, will stoop to any depths to fill their coffers. Said the ads (no doubt part of the "deal"):

"Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University (Harvard Univ). All religions teach the value of life. Christianity and Islam alike promote love, tolerance, justice, and moderation....In the spirit of caring for humanity HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chariman of Kingdom HOlding Company, has provided the unprecedented support of US $20 million for the development of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown (Harvard) University. This is part of the Prince's continuous efforts to serve knowledge and religious understanding. . . .the Center will focus on building bridges between Islamic and Western civilizations creating a think tank for . . . blah, blah, blah."

Thus, two of America's elite universities sold their intellectual integrity for thirty pieces of silver. If the universities had any moral backbone or real belief in the marketplace of ideas, they would have told the "prince" to keep his money and use it to build a Christian church in downtown Riyadh -- like the mosque in the center of downtown Washington DC (the "Christian" half of Muslim-Christian understanding appears to be functioning quite well); or they would have told him to use the money to establish a branch of Harvard in Riyadh staffed by unveiled women professors. Now THAT would have been a demonstration of real academic freedom.

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