- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) A University of California graduate student is reworking a description of his class on Palestinian poetry and politics so it does not explicitly discourage conservatives from attending.
Snehal Shingavi, 26, a fifth-year graduate student in English, drew criticism after earlier saying that "conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections."
The description of this fall's course also said there would be no debate about the right of Palestinians to use violence to end what they call the Israeli occupation.
Mr. Shingavi yesterday said his warning to conservatives was a mistake and that he never intended to suppress free speech.
"I like debates. I think debate is healthy and important," said Mr. Shingavi, who held a campus news conference to announce the course will be going forward this fall with a revised description.
The new wording was still being worked out, but Mr. Shingavi said it won't discourage anyone from enrolling. It was not clear whether the course's content would be different.
University administrators said there was a "failure of oversight" by the English department to review the description for the undergraduate class, "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance."
Chancellor Robert Berdahl has said the class will be watched to make sure qualified students are not turned away. The course is filled, with 17 students and a waiting list.
The initial course description drew sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates, many of whom pointed out that Berkeley claims distinction as birthplace of the 1964 Free Speech Movement.
Mr. Shingavi said he was grateful to the university for allowing the course to go forward. But he blamed the criticism of the course on opposition to its content, and not free speech.

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