Tel Aviv students afraid to challenge leftist professors
By Or Kashti
Tel Aviv University students are hesitant to express their political views in class, lest lecturers perceived to have left-wing political views penalize them with lower grades, the head of TAU’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction wrote in an internal memorandum last month. Prof. Nira Hativa’s comment in the faculty memo ignited controversy among professors, with some declaring that her sentiments should not be made public.
Hativa wrote: “There are no small number of students of lecturers with left-wing views who complain bitterly that they are extremely offended by the presentation of materials that oppose their views, but are fearful of expressing contrary viewpoints in class, lest it harm their grades.”
In response to the uproar, Hativa, who is currently abroad, wrote Haaretz this weekend that “the things I wrote in the context of an internal disagreement are based on intuition and my personal impressions.”
The chair of the university’s students’ union, Shahar Botzer, said his organization receives a number of complaints each year from students dissatisfied with what they view as lecturers’ biased portrayal of material in favor of left-wing positions. He said that such complaints are the exception, however, rather than the rule.