Thursday, December 29, 2005

UMass Mao-book hoax-ster update

Mid-month, a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth student made up a story that he checked out a book written by Mao Tse-Tung from that school's library and got a scary visit from the Feds for his effort.

Here's what the New Bedford Standard-Times wrote on December 17.

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Lefty bloggers jumped all over this story with glee, since it gave them yet another opportunity to denounce "that fascist Bush." As I mentioned here last week, Teddy Kennedy bellowed his complaint about the Mao book "visit" from the authorities. (Free registration required on that last one.)

On Christmas Eve, the student confessed his sins to the New Bedford Standard-Times. The paper said they wouldn't reveal the scammer's name.

And UMass Dartmouth administrators told the liar that he wouldn't be punished. Bloggers such as InstaPundit cried "foul!"

Now a UMass professor, with the familiar sounding name of Clyde Barrow, joining the growing numbers who feel the fabricator should be punished.

From this morning's Boston Globe:

The head of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth wants the university to suspend a student who made up a story about being grilled by federal antiterrorism agents over a library book and to reprimand faculty members who spread the tale.

Following the student's admission Friday that it was a hoax, Clyde Barrow, chairman of the policy studies department, said UMass should punish the student and faculty members, in particular two history professors who repeated the unsubstantiated assertion of the history student to a New Bedford Standard-Times reporter.

''It's unbelievable that this student is not being suspended for a semester," wrote Barrow, who said he does not know the student's identity. ''It's even more unbelievable that the faculty who jumped the gun on this story and actively promoted it on campus, the Internet, and blogs will walk away from their misconduct without any consequences."

Barrow said further in an e-mail to the Globe that the professors' apparent lack of skepticism came as little surprise to him because they are a ''dogmatic and zealous group of politically correct but chic anti-Americans."

This Barrow guy rocks. DePaul needs a guy like him.

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