Citizens to End Racism in Academia: Sign and Fwd. petition against Witzel, Harvard U.

http://www.petitiononline.com/stopIER/petition.html

End Harvard Association of Hate Groups!

Send To:
Trustees, Alumni and Students of Harvard University
Sponsored By:
Citizens to End Racism in Academia

We the undersigned insist that Harvard University end its association with Aryan Supremacist / Creationist hate-mongering activities.

Professor Michael Witzel and his “scholars clique” in the Harvard Sanskrit and Indian Studies Department have exhibited a pattern of hateful, ignorant statements and abysmally low standards of scholarship. This is not the Harvard that alumni paid heavily in time and money to attend and build a reputation for excellence. Witzels activities have made Harvard the object of anger, disgust, contempt and ridicule of ordinary citizens.

Shockingly Low Standards?

Recently, Witzel and his “scholars clique” earned ridicule for Harvard by sending a shockingly incompetent letter [1] to the California State Board of Education. This letter represented the collective achievement of 50 self-described Prominent Academics. The sweeping hate stereotypes, ad hominem attacks, and general lack of facts in their letter make for depressing reading by any Harvard well-wisher. On questioning, several of the signatories confessed to not even having seen the proposed changes that they were bitterly opposing. Predictably, the California Board, after affording these losers undeserved courtesy based on Harvards name, rejected their position as unscholarly, insensitive, biased and devoid of facts – heaping ridicule on the Harvard brand. If this is the standard of tenured Professors, what does it imply for the worth of a Harvard education?

Hate Groups on Harvard Pay?

Michael Witzel signed his Harvard affiliation to the following sample quotes on the “Indo-Eurasian Research” (IER) Internet hate group that he runs. These show his bias against the Indian-American community, who should be Harvards primary customer base for Sanskrit and Indian history studies. We record our abhorrence of these actions which have shredded Harvards reputation as a civilized institution. We summarize from a recent article [2] that details the references:
Witzel writes that ‘Indian Civilization would be a good idea’
Witzel writes that NRI (non-resident Indian) stands for Non-Returning Indians! A schoolyard bullys taunt against immigrant children, but coming from a tenured Harvard Professor?
Witzel claims that Indians in the USA do not invest in the higher education of their children (since they avoid the zoo that Witzel has made of his own department?)
Witzel used the slur “HiNA” meaning in Sanskrit, inferior, lowly and defective, as an acronym for Hindus in North America. Does this juvenile propensity to invent racial slurs, much as it may impress his Prominent Academic IER cronies, define Harvard’s intellectual class in 2005?
Witzel declared Hindu-Americans to be “lost” or “abandoned”, parroting anti-Semite slurs against Jewish people. Coincidence or symptom?
Witzels fantasies are ominously reminiscent of WW2 German genocide. He says that ‘Since they won’t be returning to India, [Hindus immigrants to the USA] have begun building crematoria as well.’
Witzel sneers at the Hindu belief in evolution, enshrined in the Ten Incarnations, which include the Varaha, the wild boar. He writes that second generation [Hindu] people just understand [Hinduism] as ‘boaring rituals’ (puja, etc.), temple visits and Indian (mythological) comic books … ”

We note that Indian-American parents must resort to comic books to teach their heritage to their children, precisely because of the sorry state of textbooks and academic curricula [3] Witzel as self-proclaimed world expert has failed to exert positive leadership in the field of his presumed scholarship.
Witzel ridicules the most sacred of Hindu mantras: inexcusable for a schoolyard bully, not to mention a historian and professor. He writes:
Many short mantras (the later biija mantras) like oM have humble origins the Veda…. used in the Veda to call your goat .. and your wife. This was carried on for several posts of racist banter on the IER forum with S. Farmer.
Witzel demeans the daughters of Indian-American parents, who take the trouble to learn their heritage through traditional art forms. In the worst of racist slander, Witzel claims that Indian classical music and dance reflect low moral standards.

The above reflect the attitudes associated with the Nazi genocide planners of 1930s Europe. The Nazis systematically whipped up hatred through distortion, defamation, vilification and demonization. Isn’t it more than alarming that Harvard nurtures such attitudes in 2005?

Such racist bigotry is standard fare on the IER forum, where all posts require editing and approval by Witzel or his assistant S. Farmer. Witzel presents this behavior as being approved by Harvard university, using his Harvard Wales Professor designation.

This is a clear, egregious violation of faculty standards advertised by Harvard.

The Aryan Supremacist School of Creationism?

Witzels screeching against the community is often part of his marketing of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), now re-packaged as “Aryan Influx Theory”. This marries Farmers Creationist dogma, with Witzels Aryan Supremacist requirement that all civilization must have emanated from his Aryan Caucasian roots. Devoid of intellectual substance, this gang personally abuses anyone who cites the growing scientific evidence debunking AIT. The evidence points to distributed local evolution of civilization, independent of any Caucasian influx.

Harvard Calls Californians Idiots for Rejecting Bigotry?

Witzel and Farmer use their censored forum to publish juvenile sneers at California State Board of Education Curriculum Commissioners, retired international banking senior executives, at Indian historians, and generally at the community of well-read, accomplished, scientifically expert Indian-Americans who challenge ignorance and bias. Farmer is on record calling the California State Board of Educations rejection of the Witzel rants, idiocy and threatening to overturn their decision, presumably through extra-legal means.

Harvard Working Full-Time to Overthrow Lawful Decisions?

Farmer cites Witzel’s boast that several others (presumably Harvard graduate students) continue to work full-time for several weeks during the Fall 2005 academic term, on pressuring the California Board. Clearly, full-time work on such political pressure tactics constitutes abuse of Harvard resources.

A Clear Record of Incompetence and Out-of-Control Behavior
Harvard Administrators have known for over a decade[4] about Witzels egregious conduct. Hired as a Visiting Professor, Witzel was made department Chair with undue haste, ignoring the need to exert due diligence before awarding tenure or administrative responsibility. His disastrous performance [5] as Department Chair is clearly documented.

Academic Freedom or an Atmosphere of Fear at Harvard?

The chaos caused by Witzel forced students to go public in the 1990s, with the unique spectacle of a Department Chair threatening a student with a lawsuit because she took and forwarded minutes of a student meeting in the department. Ten years after this debacle, Witzel is still propagating a culture of nepotism and inbreeding, anointing unqualified, immoderate individuals to world expert titles using Harvards name, and joining them in vicious behavior.

Summary: Enough of Irresponsible Behavior!

Harvards reputation has been battered by association with anti-Semitic Nazi groups, the faculty role in driving policies that led to genocides in Cambodia and East Pakistan[6], the revelations about racial slurs and other foul language [7] by its most famous faculty, and its Presidents ludicrously sexist statements. Our hopes of moving on from such things have been shattered by the behavior of Harvards Aryan Supremacist Sanskrit Professor. The nepotism and inbreeding of bigotry are dismal revelations about 21st century Harvard.

Harvards Responsibility

The facts are clear. A Harvard employee is, and has been, systematically using Harvard resources to conduct abusive attacks on the community.
The statements being made on Harvard time and affiliation are blatantly racist and bigoted, and inflame hatred against minorities something no university can hide under academic freedom excuses.
Far from supporting community organizations and parents who have been working patiently to correct the errors in textbooks, Harvard has attacked them with slanderous accusations of political motivation and violent association.
False claims of international prominence are being bestowed on unqualified individuals in Harvards name to hide their ignorance and incompetence.

Such activity is clearly incompatible with published university regulations [8]. We therefore respectfully insist that:

1. The Provost of Harvard University bears responsibility for enforcing Harvard regulations as they pertain to faculty conduct using the Harvard name. S(he) must act forcefully to enforce standards [9].
2. Harvard’s President must post an immediate apology to the offended groups and individuals. The slurs and slander against Hindu Americans are far more egregious than Harvards ill-considered remarks about gender differences in intelligence.
3. Harvard must enforce termination of Harvard’s association with hate groups such as IER and with those who run such groups.
4. Harvard must forthwith put in place polices and processes to prevent recurrence of such abuse of the Harvard name.
5. Clearly, the actions of the present department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies department, are destroying Harvards hard-won reputation for excellence. We strongly advise Harvard to disband this department, at least until such time as they can find qualified scholars who can relate to the community, and can understand the history, culture and modern evolution of India and Hinduism to respectable standards.

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*
End Notes

[1] Witzel, M., “Letter rom Prominent Academicians” on Harvard letterhead to CA Board of Education. http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/Edn_CA_Text_Book_letter_by_Prominent_Academicians_1114.pdf
[2] Kalyanaraman, S., “Harvard professor launches anti-Hindu Crusade”, India Forum, December 9, 2005. http://www.india-forum.com/articles/55/1/Harvard-professor-launches-anti-Hindu-Crusade
[3] U.S. Hinduism Studies: A Question of Shoddy Scholarship http://www.beliefnet.com/story/146/story_14684_2.html
[4] Lewin, Jonathan A., “Sanskrit Dept. in Disarray, Students, Officials Say”. The Harvard Crimson, Wednesday, June 07, 1995. http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=500579
[5] No Writer Attributed: “Former Sanskrit Chair Remains Controversial
Students Grumble in Spite of Changes” The Harvard CRIMSON, Wednesday, June 05, 1996. http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=89651
[6] Wikipedia entry on Henry Kissinger. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger.
[7] Staff, Kissinger ‘regrets’ slur against Indians. The Guardian, July 1, 2005.
Henry Kissinger said today that he regretted calling Indians “bastards”, after recently released transcripts revealed his comments during a taped conversation with then-president Richard Nixon. http://www.guardian.co.uk/india/story/0,12559,1519396,00.html
[8] The use of Harvard Names and Insignias http://www.provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/useofname/names_insignias.php
[9] Statement on Outside Activities of Holders of Academic Appointments
http://www.provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/academic_appointments.php

Related Reading

[A] Textbooks should instill a sense of pride in every child in his or her heritage” California State Board of Education Guidelines http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/documents/socialcontent.pdf
[B] Stickel, S, et al, List of changes approved by CA State Board of Education Curriculum Review panel, pertaining to Hinduism and India on Nov. 5, 2005.
http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr05/documents/bluenov05item05.doc
[C] Komerath, N., “Scholarship of Equine Posteriors – Har(vard)appa Style”. India News at iVarta.com, December 4, 2005. http://www.indiacause.com/columns/OL_051204.htm
[D] List of co-signors of Witzel Letter. http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/witzelletter.pdf
[E] SepiaMutiny discussion:”Reading the fine print in textbooks”. http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/002613.html#comments

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This Open Letter was created by the Citizens To End Racism in Academia (CERA) in collaboration with Alumni for Civility in Academic Discourse (ACAD, and Citizens to Stop Funding Hatred (CSFH). We are literate, knowledgeable and competent in what we do, we care about our children’s education, and want them to succeed as sensitive, caring human beings in a competitive, multicultural global community of the 21st century. We wish Harvard University a bright future of excellence, along with an environment that welcomes diversity, sensitivity, and freedom from hatred. Thank you.

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