Crazy to love America

By now, you’ve probably heard about Ahmad Al-Qloushi, a 17-year-old Kuwaiti student who says his political science instructor at a California community college told him he needed psychiatric treatment after he wrote a pro-American essay as his take-home final. The essay prompt was:

Dye and Zeigler contend that the Constitution of the United States was not “ordained and established” by “the people” as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest.

There’s no option for a student who disagrees with the thesis, but Al-Qloushi chose to argue in favor of the Constitution as a progressive document for its time.

Professor (Joe) Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naive for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me “America is not God’s gift to the world.” Then he upped the stakes and said “You need regular psychotherapy.” Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment.

If the student’s tale is accurate, it’s outrageous. It’s one thing to flunk him — I think the essay is not bad for a 17-year-old immigrant — quite another to treat him like a lunatic because he thinks the Founders were good guys and is grateful America liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.

Woolcock has filed a harassment grievance against Al-Qloushi for mentioning Woolcock’s name in the media.

One of Roger Simon’s commenters posts a link to Rate Your Professor. There are quite a few complaints about political bias and favoritism, though the instructor also has some defenders.

All this took place at Foothill College, which is my local community college. I’ve taken some classes there. But not U.S. government.

About Joanne


  1. The only thing worse than arrogant college professors is arrogant COMMUNITY college professors.

    Sorry, couldn’t help it, that just slipped out — my arrogance is showing. Fortunately, in business (at a mid-level southeastern University) we are somewhat isolated from the most insanely liberal of the liberal arts. Of course, we are all evil capitalists out to ruin the world. 🙂


  2. By the way, I encourage arguments for and against affirmative action in my HR classes. Not surprisingly, most students – across racial and gender lines – are conflicted, because there are a variety of issues and viewpoints to consider. You can find stupid arguments and reflexive “hateful” arguments on both sides, but you can also find well reasoned, thoughtful arguments on both sides. Unfortunately, the former are more common than the later (on both sides!).

    Asking a student to argue for or against AA, according to MY view point, is not teaching them to think critically and reach a conclusion. It is just teaching them to spit back the non-sense the teacher told them without further analysis or other opinions.

    When I was in college, I was always most impressed by the professors who could keep you guessing as to their opinion on a particular issue. They were typically masters of the Socratic method, able to get the students to really think through an argument, as opposed to simply leading them through one line of reasoning. They would question both sides (or all sides) with difficult, thought provoking intensity. Like a master debater, they could argue for both sides even if they strongly held personal opinions and beliefs supporting one side.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to address every silly argument related to an issue — there isn’t enough time in a semester to address all the stupid arguments!

  3. I suppose you know about this movie: Academic Bias 101.

  4. An apparent student of Woolcock commented on my site defending him over a month ago.

  5. The two positive comments read as though they were posted by the prof himself. “Fine mind” –yeah, right.

    I once signed up for a course in Microeconomics at De Anza, but the first lecture seemed mostly about “why capitalism is bad.”

  6. I saw this mentioned on another website and the commenters were torn as to whether the paper was a good work or a bad work. If you agreed politically with the prof, it was a terrible paper. If you disagreed with the prof, it was a work of genius. There was only one person who tried to come to a reasoned bipartisan review of the paper and she and her professor husband both thought the student did a half way good job but the question the prof asked was so stunningly obviously slanted to get the students to regurgiate the prof’s views that it should never have been asked in the first place.

    I agree with the poster about having profs who never let you know where they stand on an issue. I had some in my other classes but in the liberal arts classes it was obvious that if I did not subscribe wholeheartedly with the socialist world order I would never get a good grade. It was infuriating to anyone who ever had an independent thought but for the sake of graduating I had to give back what was given in the class. One was so bad that I almost hated having to take the class but it was a requirement. The prof spent the entire semester of contemporary lit giving us the plot, main characters and meaning of enough contemporary lit to take up 288 pages of notes. We were then supposed to give these back as required on the exams. I really got a lot out of that class! I also dodged that prof for the rest of my time there, successfully Thank God.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Whether the paper was good or bad is irrelevant to the form the criticism took. Intellectually this professor is lower than the teachers who screw their teenage students.

  8. Whether the paper is good or bad, true or false is largely irrelevant. It may well be true that the kid needs help. How do we know?

    The only real question is whether a teacher should be making such a pronouncement (other than a psychology teacher, perhaps). Regardless it doesn’t seem pedagogically sound to me.

  9. “The only real question is whether a teacher should be making such a pronouncement (other than a psychology teacher, perhaps). Regardless it doesn’t seem pedagogically sound to me.”

    Dave, I think you’re being far too kind to Prof. Wollcock. It’s not pedagocially unsound, it’s just plain WRONG.

    The fact that he’s going to try to get this student’s visa revoked if he doesn’t seek therapy for raising points that would not arouse suspicion save the student’s race shows that he clearly does NOT belong in a classroom ever again. Either Woolcock is delusional or terribly racist if he truly believes this student needs therapy, or he’s being horribly vindictive. In any case, it’s clear he is NOT capable of treating his students with dignity, and in my book that means get the **** out of the classroom.

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Can we jerk Woolcock’s visa? He sounds like he would be a real contribution to Frence society.

  11. Walter E. Wallis says:


  12. No one’s pointed out what I think is the most bizarre and egregious aspect of this story:

    Here we have a hip, progressive, anti-racist, yadda yadda, lefty college professor, claiming that someone who disagrees with him is mentally ill. Fine, nothing new there. Given his views on the constitution and the founding of America (that the constitution was “was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests”, it’s probably safe to hypothesize that he feels that Arabs living in the US have suffered government-sanctioned discrimination in the wake of 9/11.

    And here he is, taking advantage of the fact that his dissenting student is from Kuwait, and threatening to have his visa revoked, so that he can be sent back to a country in which more serious action against him may or may not be taken as a result of his views. So, what – the United States is run by rich, privileged, racist, white middle-aged men whose behaviour ensures the continuing systemic discrimination against minorities…which, by the way, is perfectly justified, as long as said minorities don’t fall in line with the professor’s hip, progressive worldview?

    I have friends, born in the Middle East and studying in the US, who worry that their visas will be revoked. It’s no laughing matter. Mind you, if they DID get their visas simply because they espoused views that ran counter to their professors’, then those professors’ views – that the non-elites’ constitutional rights are not guaranteed – will have become self-fulfilling prophecies. Hmm.

  13. Moebius,

    I completely agree with that. Here is this professor, who claims to be against racism, clearly being racist. He believes that this kid is psychotic because someone of his race wouldn’t be able to sanely believe what this kid believes. That’s a racist, bigoted view if I ever heard one.


  1. Post-Indoctrination Snobbery Stress Syndrome

    When I first read about Ahmad Al-Qloushi and his kerfuffle with a political science professor my blood boiled. I meant to post about it, but with The Fire I just didn’t get around to it. Yesterday Hyscience, one of my