TCA v U of MN UPDATE: Scholars weigh in; hearing is this Friday


Two more scholarly organizations-the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the Society for Armenian Studies(SAS)-have come out in support of the University of Minnesota, which is defending itself this week in federal court against a lawsuit by the Turkish Coalition of America.

Last month, the Middle East Studies Association expressed "grave concern" in an open letter urging the Washington-based TCA to with drawits complaint against the University, President Robert Bruininks, and Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Director Bruno Chaouat.

The IAGS on February 1 requested permission to file a "friend of the court" brief in the "unreliable websites" case, which was prompted by the listing of the TCA's website as an "unreliable" source for scholarly research on the Armenian Genocide. The request says that the IAGS, an organization of the world's foremost experts on genocide, affirmed the Armenian Genocide by unanimous resolution in 1997.

"As an organization of scholars, IAGS is interested in ensuring that historical truth is pursued throughout academia and that efforts to foreclose, constrain or limit the pursuit of historical truth are identified as such," stated the request (see attach1). "Specifically, by submitting an amicus memorandum in support of the motion to dismiss in this matter, IAGS seeks to reveal and identify the widespread and multifaceted Turkish effort to deny the historical fact of the Armenian genocide as a political strategy, which causes harm to the victims, survivors and descendants of the Armenian genocide."

In a response filed today (see attached 2), the TCA accused the IAGS of "vigilante scholarship" and asked the court to deny the genocide scholars' request.

Meanwhile, "The Society for Armenian Studies strongly supports the academic freedom and salutes the intellectual integrity of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) at the University of Minnesota and its Director, Professor Bruno Chaouat," declared the SAS in a statement released February 1 (see attached 3),. "We stand with the CHGS against denial of the Armenian Genocide and applaud its principled opposition to placing denial on an equal footing with legitimate scholarship."

A hearing on the University's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the U.S. District Courthouse in Saint Paul. Confirmation of the schedule will be posted on the court's daily calendar.

The IAGS request, the TCA's response, and other filings in the case are available to the public at the PACER database.