Senate Committee Rejects Humanities-Panel Nominee
Washington--A university professor criticized by education and advocacy groups for his participation in a textbook-censorship campaign has lost his bid for a seat on the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, in a voice vote Oct. 9, rejected President Reagan's nomination of Charles A. Moser for an opening on the council, which reviews neh grant awards.
The National Education Association, the National Humanities Alliance, and People for the American Way had opposed Mr. Moser's appointment, in part because of his support for a 1974 campaign by parents to ban textbooks deemed "anti-Christian and anti-American" from the Kanawha County, W.Va., schools. Mr. Moser, now a professor of Slavic at George Washington University, was employed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, at the time.
Opponents of the nomination also cited Mr. Moser's current affiliation with groups they characterized as foes of academic and intellectual freedom.
They noted that he serves on the board of directors of Accuracy in Media, a conservative watchdog group, and has expressed support for its offshoot organization, Accuracy in Academia, which seeks to highlight alleged liberal bias in college curricula.
They also cited his membership in University Professors for Academic Order, a group of conservative aca4demicians, and his role as a board member of the National Council for Better Education, an organization that has sharply attacked the nea's political activities.
In an interview last week, Mr. Moser charged that the committee's vote was politically motivated and did not reflect his credentials for the position.
"I've dedicated my entire adult life to the humanities," said Mr. Moser, who added that he had taught Russian languages and literature for 27 years and had written several books and articles in the humanities. "Apparently, political considerations outweighed professional ones," he said.
He also maintained that the groups cited by his opponents seek to expand rather than stifle academic diversity, and he defended his involvement in the West Virginia textbook campaign on the grounds that "parents should have the final say" over public-school curricula.
President Reagan nominated Mr. Moser for the humanities council in July of last year, but had to resubmit the nomination after the Labor and Human Resources panel, then under Republican control, tabled it.
When Mr. Moser pressed the committee to bring his nomination to a vote, "there were very serious concerns raised about a number of issues," said Paul Donovan, a spokesman for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the panel.
"The Senator took those concerns very seriously and could not support Mr. Moser for the position," Mr. Donovan said.