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This statement is in response to articles published in the Pioneer Press on 11-19-2010 and in the Minnesota Daily on 11-23-10 regarding the removal of "unreliable websites" from the website of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) at the University of Minnesota.
I assumed directorship of CHGS in July 2010. Since then, I have focused on promoting the Center's mission of research, education and outreach. I have been speaking with the community and with colleagues on campus to communicate the new initiatives and intellectual orientation of the Center.
My staff and I have invested much effort in trying to update the Center's website. Part of this updating process bears on the educational section, and its listing of websites that CHGS perceives as unreliable sources of information for students and researchers. I decided to remove the section providing links to "unreliable websites." My rationale was quite simple: never promote, even negatively, sources of illegitimate information.
During almost twenty years working in higher education, I have never put a dubious source on a syllabus for my students, not even for the purpose of delegitimizing the source. The decision to remove the links to "unreliable websites" was made before the Turkish Coalition of America began its efforts to intimidate CHGS into removing the links. The links were replaced with legitimate information devoted to the history, ideology and psychology of Holocaust and genocide denial.
On behalf of the CHGS, I want to reiterate that in accordance with the vast majority of serious and rigorous historians, the CHGS considers the massacre of the Armenians during World War I as a case of genocide. To insinuate, as the articles published in the newspapers mentioned above, that the mission of CHGS is somehow influenced and biased by donors' money is incorrect.
Genocide and Holocaust denial is an important issue for CHGS. When I took over the direction of the Center, I put together a lecture series on this very question. This series will begin in 2011 and will continue in the academic year of 2011-12. I invite all persons interested in the issue of genocide and Holocaust denial to attend the lectures and participate in our discussions.