An experiment in Academia

We wonder what the results at Acadia would have been had the faculty here been part of this experiment.

Prof. Fred Gottheil told Front Page Magazine that he compiled a list of 675 email addresses from 900 signatures on a 2009 petition authored by Dr. David Lloyd, professor of English at the University of Southern California, urging the U.S. to abandon its ally, Israel. Prof. Gottheil discovered that six of the signers, who hailed from more than 150 college campuses, were members of his own faculty.

“Would these same 900 sign onto a statement expressing concern about human rights violations in the Muslim Middle East, such as honor killing, wife beating, female genital mutilation, and violence against gays and lesbians?” he wondered. “I felt it was worth a try.”

Did you guess the results of Professor Gottheil’s test before reading the rest of the article? We did. Can one expect students’ views to be any different? Students think they are so free thinking but they don’t really question the lines they are fed and test them against reality.


10 responses to “An experiment in Academia

  1. There is another possibility:
    Gottheil got 27 signatures from the 675 people he contacted. That’s a positive reply rate of 4%. How many people did Lloyd have to approach in order to get his 900 signatures? If Lloyd had to approach 22500 lefties to get his 900 signatures, then we’d say that both petitions were just noise…

    Of course, the above is only a slim possibility. But, to be logically complete, I can’t exclude it until the data are in.

    How many Women’s Studies Professors are out there? How many Men’s Studies Professors are out there? Hmm, more bigotry?

    • Bill, Bill. Your justification is nonsense, as you must know. The whole value of the test was that these people were preselected by their participation in the other advocacy. Ask any marketer. They are already people who will fill out petitions, already concerned with human rights (or pretend to be) and already think they are familiar with politics in the middle east. The percentage should have been much, much higher than a random selection of the populace.

  2. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any way of explaining this little experiment away… I’m totally and absolutely staggered by the implications of these surveys. Heck, 675-27=648 intellectually dishonest professors!!!! Makes me wonder if certain types of departments should even exist in a university?

  3. And sorry for calling you Bill. Brain fart. I’m a bit light on sleep at the moment.

  4. “LONG LIVE ISRAEL” I would like to see one other country on this planet that has accomplished as much as Israel has under the daily pressure that is put on it by the Arab/Islamic countries and their ALLIES. Some of these Islamic counties need to be dragged into the 15th century (at least) yelling and screaming.

  5. The more some of these academia types bash Israel the more grants and cash they get from the arabs.

  6. Of course, you also have to know the methodology by which each petitioner tried to collect their signatures.

    It’s my understanding that Dr. Lloyd was one of quite a few professors involved in the Israel petition, and that there were several years of divestment work put in by human rights organizations, both in this country and elsewhere, and that the signatures were collected via a website self-selected by many of the professors. (In other words, the petition didn’t so much come to them, as they searched it out and went to it.)

    Dr. Gottheil, on the other hand, sent “cold call” e-mails to strangers one time, and cannot account for how many ended up in spam folders or tossed from “IN” boxes unread because they came from an unfamiliar name/address. He had no organization behind him, no website explaining his intent or ability to make any difference, and no discernible history dealing with human rights in the Middle East. He did not contact any of his personal, professional or political friends and colleagues to solicit their signatures, and did not do any followup to his one e-mail with the people who didn’t reply the first time.

    We also don’t know how long Dr Lloyd and those working with him took in trying to gather their signatures, after their petition was composed… …though I’d imagine it was likely longer than it took Dr Gottheil to send out his 675 e-mails. (And that’s assuming he didn’t send them in bulk, which, though faster for him, would greatly increase the likelihood of ending up in a spam filter.)

    As far as I’m concerned, counting the number of people who didn’t respond to a single unsolicited e-mail from a stranger that may or may not’ve even made it into their “IN” box is hardly the best way to determine who does and does not care about the rights of women or gay folks in Middle Eastern countries. YMMV, however…

    In any case, Dr. Gottheil’s Statement of Concern is now posted at, and is accepting signatures from anyone willing to speak out against human rights abuses in the Middle East. As you’re obviously interested in the story, I urge you to step up and sign it: Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians Petition

    Obviously, we’ll be counting on everyone here to reply to this request.