(JNS.org) The new professorwatchlist.org website, which aims to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom,” has amassed more than 500,000 views in its first month, a spokesman for the initiative said.
The website provides a directory of professors listed by name and the college that employs them. Visitors either click on the school name or search by individual name to see a list of professors. Each entry on the list contains a summary of the professor’s views and a link to a news story documenting that information.
One of the sample entries on the website’s homepage is for Julio Cesar Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University who in 2011 interrupted an Israeli diplomat’s lecture on campus with chants of “Death to Israel!” Pino has also called Israel the “spiritual heir to Nazism” and wrote a eulogy in a student newspaper for Palestinian female suicide bomber Ayat al-Akhras, according to a Campus Reform article cited by professorwatchlist.org.
The website is run by a nonprofit organization called Turning Point USA, which according to its website is a “24/7-365 activist organization” whose goal is “to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.”
Matt Lamb, a spokesman for Turning Point USA, told JNS.org that the organization “started working on [the professor list] over the summer after hearing from students, donors, parents, etc. that there was a need for a central database of all these radical professors we regularly hear about in the news.”
While the website has exceeded half a million views since its Nov. 21 launch, the platform has also received its fair share of criticism.
“Many of our students and supporters love the idea, but as you can expect, the academia groups are not happy,” Lamb said. “Many of the groups, such as the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and groups of professors at different universities, have yet to decide if this website harms their academic freedom or if it's a good idea to be put on the list as an 'act of solidarity.' Their contradictory position is astonishing.”
In September 2014, the AMCHA Initiative, and organization dedicated to investigating and combating anti-Semitism at academic institutions, released a list of more than 200 college professors identifying as Middle East scholars who support a boycott of Israel.
Asked if the initiative to list professors is prioritizing the fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on campuses, Lamb said, “As a conservative organization, our (Turning Point USA’s) students are going to tend to be pro-Israel. We encourage students who oppose BDS to run for student government and we also partner and support various pro-Israel groups on campus.”