The Web site that received national attention for its controversial monitoring of Middle East sentiments on college campuses has decided to stop posting personal profiles of university activists.
Daniel Pipes, president of Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum – which runs www.campus-watch.com – said Monday that the posting of dossiers that included a profile of a Palestinian sympathizer from UC Berkeley “distracted from the underlying issues we wish to raise.”
The organization seeks to promote fair and open debate on events in the Middle East but recently drew criticism as a heavy-handed approach to Palestinian supporters.
Two weeks ago, the group began listing universities where the forum found sentiments could be biased against the United States and Israel. UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Stanford University were among those listed.
Also noted on the list were the names of eight academics, including Snehal Shingavi, a UC Berkeley graduate student who teaches a literature class that examines the Palestinian uprising.
The class became controversial earlier this year when the course description came out reading “conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections.”
Shingavi and other national scholars on the site’s watchdog list could not be reached for comment.
The Middle East Forum lists were still posted on the Internet Monday, and Pipe gave no indication of when the lists would be removed.
But Pipe said the decision will not affect the group’s efforts to monitor college campuses for fair exchange about U.S. Middle East policy.