Thank you, Senator Frist

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) gave a speech this past Sunday, and he said the following, which I am pleased to bring to the attention of my colleagues in Middle Eastern studies.

As many of you know, since the Cold War, the United States has funded university-based Area Studies Centers to train men and women who can serve in our defense and intelligence agencies.

But many Area Studies Centers, particularly those which deal with the Middle East, have become captive to narrow agendas: they propagate misleading or one-sided curricula for students and K-12 teachers, negatively portray Israel at every turn, and even bar military and intelligence agencies from advertising job openings.

I prize free academic debate and wide open discourse, but we must make sure that the Area Studies Centers carry out the role we created for them.

Which is why I’m supporting changes to the Higher Education Act that will ensure that these Centers fulfill their role to facilitate national security and foster global democracy.

Until now, Title VI reform didn’t have a champion in the Senate. Now it has one and they don’t come any bigger.