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Ron Radosh

Academic Malpractice: The Case of Grover Furr

November 13th, 2012 - 4:47 pm

Look first at what some of his students say about him, in their public evaluations. They know what he is about, and they have his number. Here are a few:

Unbelievable, so in order to absolve socialism from responsibility for millions of murders committed by Stalin in the name of Socialism,  Prof. Furr disappears the murders. Evil just plain evil.

Yikes, this guy is as boring as they come and seems to have a poor grasp of the facts …

I have NEVER taken a worse professor in my life. His attitude is horrible and he purposely makes the students feel bad.. .DO NOT take his class!!!!!!!

RUN THE OTHER WAY NOW! I received a good grade in this class but he is unbearable! Forced me to write about the U.S. toturing the Abu Gahrib prisoners. All I have to say is HOOORAH! Very political views and once you take him you are forever held hostage on his mailing list which means you will receive FURR emails for life!

Furr long ago caught the attention of conservatives and those concerned with keeping alive a genuine respect for the humanities and academic freedom in our colleges. At Frontpagemag.com, Rocco DiPippo wrote an article titled “A Scholar for Stalin” that captures the fraudulent nature of Furr’s work. DiPippo notes that for many years, Furr regularly wrote diatribes to the H-list academic discussion group of the Historians of American Communism, flooding the site with entry after entry attacking the work and contributions of H-HOAC members. Because of this, the site has closed down all discussion and limits its posts to announcements of work and informational queries relating to scholarship, and no longer engages in the fruitless discussions with Furr that had become a preoccupation of the list’s members, who were spending far too much valuable time trying to answer his spurious charges.

So let me note why the employment in an American university of Grover Furr should be of concern, not just to residents of Montclair, N.J., and to the poor students who are forced to listen to the drivel and the lies he puts forth as the truth, but to anyone concerned with higher education in our nation. Furr is the equivalent of a Holocaust denier, a person who misuses the doctrine of academic freedom to use the classroom as a forum for indoctrination, and to use the imprimatur of being a faculty member as a mechanism to make it appear that he has something to say and that people should listen to him.

I fully remember the late ’60s, when Gene Genovese was subject to a campaign of the Right, who wanted him fired from Rutgers University for saying at a teach-in on the war in Vietnam that, unlike his liberal colleagues, he welcomed “the impending victory of the Vietcong.” Genovese did not say that in his class, but in a forum on the war at which various points of view were presented. Genovese, a real historian, did not use his class to proselytize or indoctrinate. He presented his opinion outside of the classroom, and did not make Vietnam the central piece of his scholarship or his teaching. Yet Richard M. Nixon endorsed the campaign to “rid Rutgers of Reds,” which fortunately failed to attain its end. The Rutgers administration stood firm. Genovese kept his job, and soon moved on to a lifetime of distinguished scholarship at other institutions of higher learning.

Unlike Genovese, Grover Furr is not a distinguished scholar. He is a pedantic hack; a man who pretends to disprove with scores of footnotes all of his ideological opponents — as if endless citations prove that he is right — indeed anyone who casts aspersion on his beloved hero Joseph Stalin. If Furr uses his classroom to make these same arguments, as readily appears to be the case, it is a different matter. In the 1950s, in a seminal essay, the late philosopher Sidney Hook argued that while a Communist had a right to his opinions and to enter them in the marketplace of ideas, he did not have the right to be hired by a university to teach these ideas as the truth, and to use the classroom as an arena to indoctrinate students with lies meant to affirm the viability of the movement to which he has sworn loyalty.

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