Georgia Junior College Prof Has Nutty Ideas

Rusty Shackleford has discovered that Hassan Ali El-Najjara, a Palestine-born sociology professor at Dalton State College in Georgia, is pushing crackpot theories about American foreign policy and Zionist plots on a website and a self-published book. He finds it “really surprising” that “the people of Georgia aren’t demanding the immediate firing of Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar.”

I’m really not sure on what basis he’d be fired. He is an associate professor, which almost certainly means he has tenure. By definition, it’s hard to get rid of tenured professors, let alone for expressing crackpot ideas. Further, he’s at a junior college teaching “three introductory courses to Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Marriage and Family.” Unless he’s bringing his anti-Semitic rantings into those courses, there’s not much grounds for dismissal.

According to the article by Stacy McCain linked in Rusty’s post, El-Najjara has “an agreement with Dalton College not to talk to the news media.” This was in 2003. Presumably, the college is well aware of the situation and have distanced themselves from his extra-curricular activities.

Nor, according to the same article, does the nutty professor seem to be having much sway, at least locally.

“Ordinary people here are very pro-war,” said Peter Augustine Lawler, a political-science professor at Berry College near Rome, Ga., about 40 miles from Dalton. The state has a strong military tradition, Mr. Lawler explained. “A disproportionate number of the men in battle are from Georgia. It’s a very military state, comparatively speaking.”

And the anti-Israel rhetoric of the Al-Jazeerah site clashes with the Bible Belt beliefs of most northern Georgians, Mr. Lawler said. “There’s really no constituency for that here,” he said, adding that many evangelical Christians believe the state of Israel is prophetically important. “People are very pro-Israel. Even the rednecks are pro-Israel, because of evangelical teachings.”

The existence of the Al-Jazeerah site came as a surprise to an official of the Dalton-Whitfield County Chamber of Commerce. “That’s really very strange,” said the official, who did not want to be named. “I have never heard of either of these professors.”

Mr. Lawler said he was also “stunned” that the site was based in Dalton, but added, “Professors are a different breed, even in Dalton, I guess.”

Yup.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    Where were the “anti-Semitic rantings”?

    He seems to be a palestinian. They, rather obviously, have some serious, and very legitimate issues with Israel. Does that automatically make someone an anti-Semite in your book?

    “many evangelical Christians believe the state of Israel is prophetically important. ”

    Now thats a pretty nutty basis for American foreign policy. Lots of nuttiness goin’ round these days…

  2. Rick DeMent says:

    Ah Palestinians are semitic people.

    “many evangelical Christians believe the state of Israel is prophetically important. ”

    Really …. how much more crack-pot can you get?

  3. Anderson says:

    I’m sure that if the professor were pushing crackpot ideas about how Saddam really had WMD, he would be the darling of the internet.

  4. carpeicthus says:

    The right is just looking for the next extremely obscure person to pretend is the most popular person in the liberal world, a la Ward Churchill. I sincerely hope that the people of Georgia have better things to do than worry about this guy.

  5. Steven Plunk says:

    Why on earth do we grant tenure to instructors at junior colleges?

  6. James Joyner says:

    Why on earth do we grant tenure to instructors at junior colleges?

    A good question, really. I taught at one of the University System of Georgia jucos (Bainbridge College) for a year (1997-98) and appreciate their desire to recruit and retain good folks, though. The fact that the are staffed mostly by PhDs is a testament to offering decent enough benefits–and tenure is a key perk of academia–to draw and retain them.

  7. Anderson says:

    Some jr. colleges are quite competitive. There are lots of perfectly qualified Ph.D.’s out there (in the humanities, anyway) who for one reason or another can’t get jobs elsewhere.

    Jackson, MS has a remarkable situation, in that the public university, Jackson State, is historically black, in a scary part of town, and not an exemplar of academic excellence. (The better black students go to Tougaloo College on the north side of town.)

    Thus, the local jr. college, Hinds, outside the city limits, has grown into basically the first two years of a four-year college, with some excellent programs, and without the de facto segregation of some schools.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Some jr. colleges are quite competitive. There are lots of perfectly qualified Ph.D.’s out there (in the humanities, anyway) who for one reason or another can’t get jobs elsewhere.

    Yup. That was my situation. I got a job the next year at Troy State and gladly took it.

    Dalton has been in a very long transition (that I thought would have been completed by now) from a 2-year to a 4-year institution. I think they have a handful of baccalaureate programs now. Sociology isn’t one of them, though.

  9. Michael says:

    Dalton became “Dalton State College” in 1998 and has several 4-year programs. They are in education, business and social work (not sociology).