Students angered over decision on Eisenstein
Published: Sunday, March 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012 16:03
After months of investigation, tenured Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Eisenstein was found not guilty of harassment. Eisenstein came under fire from both students and student organizations last November for comments made in the classroom and on his, at the time, personal Facebook page. Protests and petitions eventually lead to an investigation, in which Eisenstein was recently found not guilty.
It appears from all indications that while the investigation might be over, the protests will continue. Protest organizer Joel Novak explained that there is still a movement under foot to have some kind of action taken against Eisenstein. He explained, "We've been working in conjunction with other organizations, like Committee Advocating Islamic Rights (CAIR). We're going to a dinner this weekend to gain support and to see what we can do. There will be a mixture of Social Justice Club members and Muslim students that were active in the protest. We can't give up, because this is outrageous on both a moral and political level."
Novak went on to explain that their efforts to take this issue beyond PUC's campus will only intensify, because of his and the Muslim Student Alliance's dissatisfaction with the investigation results. Novak believes PUC is being dismissive about the issue because they fear the legal backlash that might occur if Eisenstein decided to file a lawsuit. He believes there was a kind of cost-benefit analysis on the part of the administration, and that the possible legal fees would be much more than the tuition money PUC would lose if a few students decided to leave.
"The fact there have been so many claims against him yet there have been no sanctions to curb his behavior is pretty despicable. When he gloats via Facebook posts about how much legal cost he could inflict on the university, it makes you think that the investigation was done half-heartedly just to say they did something when, really, they had no intention of taking action. It's like they figured the backlash from students would be less than what they would pay if he sued."
Eisenstein does have a First Amendment right to express his opinion, but the complaints against him stem from the belief that his words are a breach of contract. The Muslim Student Alliance and other organizations involved in the protests believe his comments are derogatory blanket statements that stereotype entire groups of people, and furthermore have nothing to do with education.
PUC student Majed Alshammry explained, "There is a line and he crossed it. Every group and culture has different people in it. There are good Muslims, bad ones, moderate and conservative, just like any other group. You can't go around labeling everyone as bad. That's not right. The things he says have nothing to do with educating students. What purpose does it serve in a classroom?"
Alshammry went on to explain that he feels Eisenstein's comments warrant some kind of action from the university, and, if none are taken, his plan is to leave PUC and go elsewhere.
Neither Eisenstein nor PUC administration could be reached for comment on the current situation..