incidents reflect tensions
In recent months both Provost Richard Saller and
President Don Randel have addressed the far-reaching influence
of current tensions in the Middle East and specifically
how these tensions may affect the University community.
One unfortunate effect is that several
University of Chicago professors have been subjected to
e-mail harassment and, in one case, e-mail identity theft,
according to a statement issued by Saller and posted on
the U of C Web site (www.alumni.uchicago.edu/gateway/saller-111102.html).
The FBI is investigating the case of
e-mail identity theft, in which Rashid Khalidi, professor
in history and Near Eastern languages & civilizations,
was the target. An individual impersonated Khalidi's e-mail
identity to send hate e-mail. "If anyone in the University
community has received such messages," Saller wrote,
"it is important to know that they are forgeries and
illegal under federal law."
Saller earlier discussed Chicago's policy
on free speech and civil discourse in a statement posted
online in September that pointed readers to the policy's
source, the 1967 Kalven Report on the University's Role
in Political and Social Action (www.uchicago.edu/docs/policies/provostoffice/kalverpt.pdf).
"The essence of the policy is that
the University administration aims to create an arena for
free exchange of ideas, but not to espouse, direct or restrain
those ideas," wrote Saller. The complete text of his
September statement may be read at www.alumni.uchicago.edu/gateway/kalven-report.html.
In an October address to the Council
of the University Senate, President Randel stated that the
University must guard against all forms of violence toward
individuals: "We are a community, and this entails
a decent respect for one another and even a degree of trust,"
he said. "No set of rules or codes of behavior can
ever fully capture everything that respect and trust require.
Maintaining this community is hard work, and each of us
must assume some personal responsibility for it.
"In a world of increasing
tensions and heated differences, we will sometimes be accused
of bias or even rank prejudice for tolerating a wide spectrum
of views," Randel noted. "But the response to
views that one finds distasteful is not in the first instance
to attempt to suppress them but instead to answer them with
the force of argument."