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This is what happens when University administration are asleep at the wheel

Reader comment on item: Redeeming the Wayward University [through Engagement by Outsiders]
in response to reader comment: Wadie Said

Submitted by Big Mistake (United States), Feb 14, 2007 at 19:11

USC Law School hiring controversial professor

(Columbia) February 13, 2007 - When students start classes at the USC law school this fall, they could find a new and controversial figure on the faculty.

He is Wadie Said, son of author and literary critic Edward Said. Before his death in 2003, Edward Said was considered a leading advocate for Palestinian issues. Some pro-Israeli groups called him an extremist - even a racist.

Wadie Said has already generated headlines of his own, most recently as a candidate for a job at the law school at Wayne State University in Detroit, where his critics called him unqualified and a supporter of terrorism.

It's not clear whether Wayne State offered Said the job. But USC did, and law school dean Jack Pratt says Said has accepted, "Our view was that he was a careful young scholar, that he has the opportunity to become a distinguished, mature scholar. We enjoyed what we saw of his visit here and the presentation that he made. And we didn't find him to be extreme in any of his positions."

Said's legal experience has prompted some of the scrutiny directed at him in Detroit. Two years ago, he was a federal public defender in Florida - representing one of nine men accused of leading a radical organization called Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Pratt says that doesn't mean Said supports the group or its goals, "I think it's always a mistake to identify a lawyer with the positions of a client. Any person is entitled to a defense in our criminal system. And he did what I would hope any good lawyer would do and that is represent a client to the best of his ability."

Said is currently living in California and serving as visiting faculty at the University of California -Santa Barbara.

His hiring still has to be approved by the Carolina Board of Trustees. If that happens, Pratt says said will teach criminal law, possibly international and human rights law, and even Islamic law.

Pratt says Said's perspective will enrich discussions among faculty and on campus.



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