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A Response to the Recent Attacks on Professor Frances Fox Piven

AAA was one of 23 academic organizations that released a joint statement of response to the recent attacks on Professor Frances Fox Piven, renown professor of the University of New York Graduate Center. The statement condemns Glenn Beck, radio and television personality, for his attacks on Piven and calls for public officials and political commentators to help in discouraging the rhetoric of hate and violence.

The joint statement was featured in a NewsWise article. The article describes the how Beck’s coverage of Piven’s research has escalated in the past few months:
Although Beck has not directly called for violence against Piven, his attacks have created an opening for threats of violence to emerge. During the past few months, Piven has received a flood of hate mail and been the subject of menacing Internet postings, which include a series of death threats. Much of the violent vitriol has appeared on Beck’s own website.

The joint statement looks to the First Amendment rights for protection of academic research on controversial issues and urges open debate:
We vigorously support serious, honest, and passionate public debate…We support serious engagement on the research of Professor Piven and of others who study controversial issues such as unemployment, the economic crisis, the rights of welfare recipients, and the place of government intervention. We also support the right of political commentators to participate in such debates. At the same time, we insist that all parties recognize the rights of academic researchers not only to gather and analyze evidence related to controversial questions, but also to arrive at their own conclusions and to expect those conclusions to be reported accurately in public debates.

AAA sections, The American Ethnological Society (AES) and The Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA) are honored that Francis Fox Piven will be the keynote speaker at their upcoming joint conference. The conference will be held April 14-17 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For conference registration and additional details, click here.

To view the joint statement and to read the complete NewsWise article, click here. The Chronicle blog also weighs in on the topic, check it out.

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