Prof says terrorist charges 'shameful'
By SETH SLABAUGH
THE STAR PRESS, MUNCIE, IND., NOV. 30, 2004
MUNCIE - One of the subjects taught by Ball State University
professor George Wolfe - who directs the university's center for
peace and conflict studies - is anger restraint. Wolfe these days
finds it necessary to practice what he teaches. He and his center
are being accused by nationally known conservative author,
commentator and strategist David Horowitz of hating America and
Wolfe called the charges "absurd" and "shameful."
"Every terrorist I know of ... uses violence," Wolfe
said in an interview. The peace and conflict studies program at
BSU teaches non-violent alternatives to conflict resolution.
"I don't know of any terrorist that uses non-violence,"
Wolfe said. "So that pretty much exonerates our program"
of charges that it backs terrorism. The professor added, "The
restraint of anger is the antithesis of being a terrorist. So if
anything, what we
are doing is creating understanding and disseminating knowledge
to prevent terrorism rather than fomenting it."
Horowitz recently authored an article about Wolfe in Horowitz's
on-line journal, FrontPage Magazine, which Horowitz says is
visited 1.7 million times a month. "There are 250 peace
studies programs in America like the one at Ball State,"
Horowitz wrote in the article's conclusion. "They teach
students to identify with America's terrorist enemies and to
identify America as a Great Satan oppressing the world's poor and
causing them to go hungry." The article ended, "There
are equally many (BSU) Provost (Beverley) Pittses, defending the
fraudulent academic credentials of the political activists who
conduct these indoctrinations and who are academically illiterate
in the subject matter itself. The question is: how long can a
nation at war with ruthless enemies like bin Laden and Zarqawi
survive if its educational institutions continue to be suborned in
In a related article, FrontPage Magazine writer Thomas Ryan
linked Wolfe, his center and his students to the "pro-terrorist"
Muslim Students Association and the Young Communist League. Ryan's
article concluded, "The peace studies program at Ball State
is not an academic course but an indoctrination and recruitment
program operating at taxpayers' expense and under the false cover
of an educational program. Worse, it is indoctrinating students
and recruiting them to agendas that
are anti-American, anti-military and friendly to the terrorist
enemy intent on destroying us."
Academic bill of rights
Such publicity has resulted in Wolfe receiving so much hate
e-mail from Oregon, Florida and other places that he has had to
close down his e-mail. "My e-mail is impossible to manage,"
Wolfe said. "One person said I should move to a communist
The controversy started when conservative Ball State student
Brett Mock, who took one of Wolfe's classes, filed a complaint
with Students for Academic Freedom accusing Wolfe of being biased.
SAF is a national organization founded by Horowitz to expose
politically biased college professors and administrators. In a
letter to SAF, Ball State Provost Beverley Pitts defended Wolfe,
who Horowitz pointed out is a saxophone professor. Horowitz
complained that Pitts did not even bother to
interview Mock, the student, during her investigation of his
"Bev Pitts dismissed the problem and has shown she doesn't
have much interest in seriously examining the complaint,"
Horowitz said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "This
is why I'm going to press for an academic bill of rights (to be
adopted by the state Legislature) in Indiana. I'm not going to let
this go. If the educators themselves will not address the problem,
the only redress one has is to try to alert the people of Indiana
to the problem."
'Well-known political agenda'
Horowitz, who might speak at Ball State next semester, has
examining the peace studies program at Purdue University, where
the student newspaper recently refused to publish an advertisement
submitted by Horowitz.
During his investigation of the peace studies program at Ball
State, Horowitz spent $60 to buy a used copy of the textbook used
by Wolfe, Peace and Conflict Studies by David Barash and Charles
Webel. "The textbook lends credibility to the student's
complaint," Horowitz said. "Bev Pitts characterized the
textbook as balanced, but the authors themselves say it is not
Horowitz quoted from the book's preface: "Accordingly, we
wish to be up front about our own values, which are frankly
anti-war, anti-violence, anti-nuclear, anti-authoritarian,
anti-establishment, pro-environment, pro-human rights, pro-social
justice, pro-peace and politically progressive." Wolfe
pointed out that Horowitz failed to mention in his article that
the authors of the textbook went on in the very next sentence to
speak of the importance of attempting to understand all sides of
Pitts' staff referred questions to Heather Shupp, university
spokesman, who said Mock never filed a complaint with the
university. Instead, she said, the student complained to Students
for Academic Freedom, an organization "with a well-known
political agenda." Shupp also called it "incredible"
that a course supporting terrorism would be approved by the
university, which has a "pretty good system of checks and
balances" and oversight regarding the courses it offers. The
textbook is widely used at American universities, Shupp said.
Contact news reporter Seth Slabaugh at 213-5834.