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Another Professor Goes Too Far

John Cheney-Lippold, a University of Michigan digital studies professor, refused to write a letter of recommendation for Abigail Ingber (to study abroad in Israel) due to an academic boycott against Israel. Lippold denied Ingber’s request in an email where he explained the boycott was to support Palestinians.

Of course, the university slammed the professor for such a decision, but only after Ingber posted his email all over her Facebook page — which lead to major backlash for the school.

Most unfortunate that young people go to college to learn about the importance of cultural awareness and political freedom, only to find themselves caught in the crossfire of ignorance and bias from the very instructors who are meant to be stellar intellectual examples.

Do as I say…not as I do

College professors are revered as being the book-smart, worldly gods who are granted the opportunity to mold young minds prior to their being forever tainted, once living within society. They are trusted by young individuals who are hungry to learn about a world that exists beyond the university walls.

They are paid a great deal for this task and they are expected to expand the minds of young people…not limit them. The moment Lippold decided not to support Ingber’s request for a recommendation due to his political beliefs, he taught her a great lesson. He showed her that some goals are indeed beyond her control, that people say one thing and do something else, and that there will always be people trying to snatch freedom away from her.

Without thinking, the man hired to show Ingber the world through education instead showed her ignorance and selfishness. Two things she will surely learn once unleashed into society…he didn’t have to show it.

When teaching goes beyond words

It goes without saying that college life doesn’t always entail positivity. There are disappointments in grades undeserved, challenges regarding time management and economics (basically, affording more than roman noodles), and the occasional head-butting with fellow classmates who refuse to leave their own biases at the university doorstep upon entering.

These are to be expected and they serve to prepare naive students for a world that won’t always handle them with a velvet glove. These experiences teach young adults what life is like when they are no longer being taken care of by their parents. This is acceptable because it teaches students how to survive. What can’t fall under this list of acceptability is when you have professors that confirm certain biases with their own bias…their own inability to let go of the very societal beliefs that are currently keeping everyone divided.

College graduates should learn the tools necessary to come out into the world and make it better. This can’t be possible if the world sneaks into the protective realm of college life and taints the student before common day society has a chance. We need the students to learn how to combat such ignorance. Maybe then we all have a chance to see the world shift and take a new direction onto the pathway of hope.

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About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

13 comments

  1. Israel is a sovereign Jewish state, created after genocide threatened to annihilate Jews from the face of the earth. Palestinians are trained from birth to hate Jews and to destroy Israel. Every country has the obligation to protect itself. Why should Israel be any different?

  2. A professor has a right to write or not write a letter of recommendation. It is not an obligation. Not every student is deserving of a recommendation.

    And everyone has the right to an opinion about matters such as the situation with Palestinians. He is hardly an ignorant person as suggested by this biased and insupportable article.

    If he came down on the other side of the issue, I have no doubt that this site, with its ultra-right wing bent, would be trumpeting him as a hero. Your denigration of professors as “book-smart” shows your bigotry and fear of education, intelligence or facts. Your hypocrisy is once more blatant.

    • Correct, as you started, the professor can agree or deny the student a letter. He should NOT judge where the student wishes to learn.

    • Not writing a recommendation based on a student not deserving it is quite different than not writing a recommendation based on personal biases. Any teacher, left or right, should know and respect the difference. I think you have missed the whole point here, probably because of your own biases

    • Another wizzard of smart. Liberals only recognize those that agree with their pointless and biased view. This is a good example of a student that is much smarter than the scruffy prof.

    • How about this? Say to her..
      “I’ll be happy to give you the letter.
      (Assumedly deserved)
      I’d appreciate a favor.
      Kindly talk to a number of Palestinians and upon your return present me
      with a brief report on their side of the story…and..present me also with ten
      or more photos of the sky over Israel; photos taken by you.”

    • Herein lies a perfect example of what the author was addressing.

    • Education does not equal intelligence or wisdom. Many of those “book-smart” professors with “advanced” degrees have simply gone to school longer than their “less-educated” counterparts. The world is full of Educated Idiots. The amount and even the level of education has nothing to do with that.

    • Your smallminded comment about this article is a perfect example why universities have been getting away with a blatant bias against any conservative views. Professors have become so biased to the left that our college students do not have any exposure to conservative views. Universities have been very successful not only at the brainwashing of our sons and daughters but in not allowing students who fail to fall into the liberal line to finish their degrees.

      You sir sound like you are a professor because your smallminded bias and lack of common sense oozes from every word of your editorial.

  3. I agree with Keith. If we don’t stop the right we are headed for a totalitarian state. Any woman who supports Kavanaugh or any person of color who supports trump should be ashamed. I have to wonder if this garbage is put out by trump’s friends in Russia in order to divide us.

    • Perhaps on the Kavanaugh story we should wait until all the facts are in. I would not like to have someone from 35 years ago come into my life and say I had assaulted them during the summer or school year at someone’s home (I cannot remember whose) and these people (who deny it) were witnesses. We were high school students and allowed access to the bedrooms but there were no parents there to chaperone.

      Getting back to the article being discussed, I think Jack B’s answer was very reasonable.

  4. Franklin R. Canada, PhD, DD

    Consistent with other liberals, the professor ignorantly omits the biblical fact that God gave the land within the state of Israel, plus additional land, to the Jewish nation–all of that land will be realized when Christ reigns over the whole world for one-thousand years.

    So, Israel, like all other sovereign nations have the right, and duty, to protect its people from those who only wish it harm.

    Contrary to popular liberal opinion, the so-called Palestine people have no legitimate right to one-square inch of Israeli controlled land.

  5. He looks Jewish. He should check his family tree.

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