After being accused of attempting to indoctrinate students with a supposedly pro-Palestine book by alumnus Bruce Kesler, who wrote on his blog that he has written his alma mater out of his will, Brooklyn College is defending their now-controversial choice for their "Common Reader" program. The program encourages incoming students to read a common book and discuss the reading with each other and with the author during orientation, but they say students aren't even required to read the book. Below is the school's statement, sics and all:

Over these past years, the students have read BC author Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes, Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (a novel/memoir about 9/11 and the loss of a father), Jonathan Lethem, The Disappointment Artist, Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpretation of Maladies, and Barak Obama, Dreams of My Father. Each year, the Common Reader has led to productive discussions of how others identify themselves and has led to self-discovery by entry-level students who were striving to improve their writing skills. The Common Reader experience emphasizes the book’s biographical, autobiographical or semi-autobiographical story rather than the various authors' individual political positions or world views.

The selection of Prof. Bayoumi's book was made by an academic committee and academic dean because it received rave literary reviews and because it contributes to the discussion of a subject that is pertinent to Brooklyn today - i.e., the stories of Brooklyn’s many immigrant communities who come from diverse areas and cultures of the world. The brief reading from the text and the question and answer session with the author is intended to encourage discussion about the specific subject matter of the novel and not about other books or articles he has written. Transfer students may attend the event, but the event and the reading are not required.

Bruce Kesler told the Daily News that the school's choice of "How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? Being Young and Arab in America" by Brooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi "was a poor and insulting choice. I'm sure Brooklyn College is still a great avenue for education, but I don't think that I should send it any more money."

The National Association of Scholars backed him up, saying the book "aims to establish Arab and Muslim Americans as victims and indict American society for making them so. By assigning this book as the sole one to be read by incoming undergraduates, most of whom will have little of the knowledge needed to evaluate its claims, Brooklyn College opens itself to the charge that it is using what should be an important education experience for ideological goals - a charge which the evidence of our study indicates could be made against a great many other colleges and universities as well."