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I received the following statement in one of my email news lists. It appears to detail the suppression of intellectual freedom on ideological grounds by the current administration.

The statement was joined by an email from Professor Milios detailing his experience firsthand. In the email, Milios claims that the official reason given for his refusal of entry was a visa irregularity, but claims he had the visa checked at the US Embassy in Athens before he left for the US, and all was in order.

I didn't seek Milios' permission to republish his email, but please check out the following statement by Michael Zweig, Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life, SUNY - Stony Brook, who granted me permission to republish in full, including contact info, to get the word out.

Center for Study
of Working Class Life
Department of Economics

Statement on U.S. Government refusal to admit professor John Milios into the United States to attend the How Class Works - 2006 conference at Stony Brook University

         On the afternoon of Thursday June 8, the How Class Works - 2006 conference at the State University of New York at Stony Brook was disrupted by the action of U.S. government officials who refused to allow Professor John Milios of the National Technical University of Athens to enter this country on his arrival at JFK airport from Greece.  Professor Milios was detained at the airport and questioned at length by the FBI concerning his political views and affiliations.  He was put on a plane back to Athens eight hours after he arrived, on the claim of technical difficulties with his visa.

         Professor Milios came to the United States at the invitation of the How Class Works - 2006 conference program committee to present a paper reflecting his recent research exploring ways in which class position in society shapes people's attitudes.  His absence was a serious loss to the intellectual life of the conference and the university.  Upon hearing the reason for his absence, conference participants were shocked and angered that a colleague in the international community of scholars had been subject to political interrogation when trying to enter the United States, and then refused entry.  This is a wholly unacceptable practice.  The action of U.S. officials on June 8 isolated American faculty and students from important research results derived overseas and made it impossible for a senior international expert to interact with his colleagues in the United States.

         I am embarrassed to have to protest this unacceptable political intrusion into the flow of ideas and intellectual work across borders, a mission at the heart of any university's purpose.  Staff members in the offices of Congressman Tim Bishop (who represents the Stony Brook University community) and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton have agreed to investigate and act to set these practices right.  Senior Stony Brook University administrators and the leadership of United University Professions, the union representing SUNY faculty and professional staff, share my distress at this development.  Working with these offices, the Center for Study of Working Class Life will do whatever we can to right this wrong and prevent such treatment of visitors to the United States in the future.  We extend our apologies and regrets to Professor Milios.

         Michael Zweig
         Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
         How Class Works - 2006 conference coordinator
         SUNY Stony Brook -- June 13, 2006

    Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384   tel:631 632-7536  fax: 631 632-7516
    michael.zweig@stonybrook.edu            www.workingclass.sunysb.edu

Originally posted to reprehensor on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:37 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sounds pretty disgusting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snacksandpop, John DE, bigchin

    there are also lots of students who have a hard time getting back in to the US. We have several foreign graduate students at my program, and two have mentioned the problems they've had and the fear that they'll just be turned away if they leave for the summer.

  •  Unfortunately, this case is far from unique (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigchin

    Every so often a case like this crops up.  When I was at Stanford in the mid-1970s, the students there (who controlled one visiting professorship) invited Ernest Mandel to campus.  Mandel, a Belgian and a Marxist economist (his best known work is probably Late Capitalism) was denied a visa by the State Dept.  Since then, I have noticed a few other cases of this, but I have never bothered to keep track of the details.

    Foreigners have no First Amendment rights if they are not here already.  The fact that domestic audiences are deprived of the opportunity to hear a speaker has never bothered the State Dept.  

    Although it is a somewhat different issue, the State Dept. has also from time to time denied a passport to a US citizen who wished to travel abroad.  I found the correspondence about the Department's lifting of Scott Nearing's passport early in the Eisenhower administration in John Foster Dules' papers at the Mudd Library at Princeton.

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