Prof. Barker’s public blog reveals that the SFSU delegation met first in Jordan with Leila Khaled, a convicted hijacker member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization responsible for scores of terrorist attacks and the deaths of more than 20 U.S. citizens.
The SFSU delegation also met with Shaikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who was convicted of funding Hamas, for his participation in terrorist activities against Israel, and for calling for a third Palestinian Arab uprising (intifada) against Israel.
The stalwart organizations who did the due diligence work one would have expected SFSU or the California Regents should have engaged in are, in alphabetical order: the AMCHA INITIATIVE, the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach, StandWithUs, and the Zionist Organization of America.
Ellen Griffin, the Associate Vice President of SFSU for University Communications issued a terse statement to reporters. SFSU apparently employs an expansive interpretation academic freedom may which may well include the right of faculty members to meet with genocidal terrorists and to do so even when funding for those meetings comes from taxpayers.
Universities respect and encourage academic freedom and do not censor their scholars or condone censorship by others. Faculty can and do communicate with others relevant to their research, communicating by various methods that can involve travel. Any allegations that a member of the University community misused state funds will be investigated.
One would be forgiven for expecting a university which already kicked to the curb a student for repeatedly making threats against supporters of the Jewish State, and for using dangerous weapons to make more credible his threats, would be a bit cautious about issues relating to terrorism. One might be even entitled to expect that when the academic freedom concerns a faculty member who worked closely with that former threatening student, encouraging him in his fascination and reverence for terrorists, the university would be even more circumspect. But apparently one would be wrong if the university under discussion were San Francisco State University.