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Media Coverage Explodes on Petraeus CUNY Honors College Protests

Screen shot of David Petraeus from video of students protesting

After The Dissenter ran a Sept. 10 interview with a member of the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY protesting former CIA Director David Petraeus’ adjunct professor gig at CUNY Macaulay Honors College, national coverage has exploded on protests occurring on his Sept. 9 first day of class.

The Petraeus protest YouTube video posted on The Dissenter for the first time now has over 273,000 views. Further, the specter of a potential crackdown on these activists also has arisen with the release of an ambiguous statement by CUNY Honors College Dean Ann Kirschner.

Kirschner’s statement up on CUNY Macaulay Honors College’s website regarding the protests on the first day of class and the brutal welcoming Petraeus received from activists:

Our university is a place where complex issues and points of view across the political and cultural spectrum are considered and debated in the hopes that we might offer solutions to the problems in our world. In order to advance reasoned debate on such issues, it is important that multiple points of view be heard.

Great universities strive to connect their students with remarkable leaders and thinkers so students can examine a variety of ideas, debate them, and form their own opinions. Those perspectives find expression through discussion in and out of the classroom.

We may disagree, but we must always do so in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. While the college supports the articulation of all points of view on critical issues, it is essential that dialogue within the academic setting always be conducted civilly.

Kirschner also wrote a blog post on her website about the protests.

“Harassment and abusive behavior toward a faculty member are antithetical to the university’s mission of free and open dialogue,” she wrote. “Although this may be obvious, this kind of behavior strikes more deeply at the heart of our cherished American right to express our beliefs without threats or fear of retribution.”

For what it’s worth, Kirschner — despite serving as a Dean of a public university — also sits on the Board of Directors of the Apollo Group. Apollo owns of the for-profit college behemoth — and scandal-ridden — Phoenix University.

A clear sign of the contentiousness of the hire of the co-author of the “Counterinsurgency Manual” and  overseer of “death squads” in Iraq lead by Col. James Steele is visible in the press coverage the protests have received since the original post on The Dissenter.

The Guardian (UK), The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, CBS’ “This Morning, National Public Radio (which cites The Dissenter interview in the piece), International Business Times (also citing The Dissenter interview in the piece), Business Insider, Times of Israel (also citing The Dissenter interview in the piece), The Raw Story and Mediate have all covered the protests.

Fox News—in typical “Fair and Balanced” fashion—scoffed at the protests in its coverage on the show “The Five,” with co-hosts referring to protesters as “d-bags” and “bullies.”

President George W. Bush’s former spokeswoman Dana Perino — one of “The Five” — said Petraeus should be escorted by security from now on, perhaps supplied by the NYPD. The NYPD runs its own “CIA on the Hudson,” as revealed by the Associated Press in its Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series. [cont’d.]

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."