Quantcast
Connect with us

Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

Published

on

The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East,” including Christians and Jews.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East,” the letter said. “This lack of balance of perspectives is troubling and strongly suggests that Duke-UNC CMES is not meeting legal requirement that National Resource Centers ‘provide a full understanding of the areas, regions, or countries.’”

The letter appears to reflect the views of new department civil rights chief Kenneth Marcus, The New York Times reported. He has long been a pro-Israel advocate and “waged a years-long campaign to delegitimize and defund Middle East studies programs that he has criticized as rife with anti-Israel bias.”

Palestinian rights groups condemned the letter and accused the Department of Education of trying to intimidate schools into curriculums that are approved by the current administration.

“They really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death,” Zoha Khalili, an attorney for Palestine Legal, told the Times, adding that the letter “sends a message to Middle Eastern studies programs that their continued existence depends on their willingness to toe the government line on Israel.”

Henry Reichman, who chairs a committee on academic freedom at the American Association of University Professors, told the Associated Press that the government intervention could set a dangerous precedent.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Is the government now going to judge funding programs based on the opinions of instructors or the approach of each course?” he asked. “The odor of right wing political correctness that comes through this definitely could have a chilling effect.”

Since Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken over, the department has certainly moved far to the right. DeVos kicked off her 2019 “Back-to-School” tour earlier this week by visiting a Catholic school that prohibits trans people from attending classes or working there and claims that gender-affirming medical care is “self-mutilation and therefore immoral.”

DeVos has also used her position to help big corporations at the expense of students. Her department has created new rules that make it more difficult for federal student loan borrowers to seek debt relief in cases where colleges defrauded them, and has rolled back Obama-era rules intended to protect students from abusive for-profit colleges.

ADVERTISEMENT

This week, the department admitted in a court filing that it violated a court order barring the collection of student loan payments by borrowers defrauded by Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit institution whose programs DeVos herself described as “worthless.”

The department admitted to trying to collect debts from more than 16,000 student borrowers who had attended programs run by Corinthian Colleges. The department also admitted that hundreds of borrowers had their credit negatively affected by the prohibited efforts to collect and more than 1,800 had their wages or tax refund garnished.

ADVERTISEMENT

After violating the May court order, the department promised that it would be “sending such borrowers notices informing them that they will be receiving refunds.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘A coward and a commander’: New Lincoln Project ad contrasts Trump with James Mattis

Published

on

On Friday, the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project released a new attack ad against President Donald Trump — this time using the criticism of his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and comparing and contrasting their leadership ability.

"This is the story of a coward and a commander," said the ad's narrator. "The coward Trump dodged the draft. Jim Mattis led American troops for forty years. While a frightened Trump hides from protesters in a deep bunker firing off tweets, Jim Mattis does what he's always done: Leads. While Donald Trump angrily attacks, General Mattis' words deserve to be heard by every American."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

NFL Commissioner Goodell apologizes for league’s indifference to players’ protests against racism

Published

on

On Friday, CNN reported that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is acknowledging his organization turned a blind eye when his athletes took a knee to protest racism and police violence, and issued a formal apology.

"We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," Goodell said in a newly released Instagram video. "It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Maxine Waters calls for Trump’s Cabinet initiate the 25th Amendment ‘before this would-be dictator takes us all down’

Published

on

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for Donald Trump to be removed from office on Friday.

"Is there one brave member of Trump’s cabinet who would move to initiate the 25th Amendment to remove him from office?" Waters asked on the president's favorite social networking platform.

The 25th Amendment would allow Vice President Mike Pence to ascend to the presidency if a majority of Trump's cabinet declares "the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"Now is the time to save our country before this would-be dictator takes us all down!" Waters warned.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image