May 6, 2011, 3:11 pm
Jerusalem—The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, has filed suit against Google demanding that it remove a blog by a former student that the institute says slanders the Technion’s program for American medical students.
The blogger posted critical articles and personal denunciations about the Technion American Medical Students program, known as TeAMS, on www.technionteams.blogspot.com, where he warns prospective students not to enter the program, leveling serious allegations of corruption against the university and its staff.
The blog alleges that only 20 percent of students in the past two years have secured residencies in the United States after graduation and says the university is “evasive with information and withholds it from people in order to lure potential applicants from North America.”
“We have brought these issues to the school’s attention since 2006 in e-mails, class meetings, letters, etc., and the school appears not to do anything,” the blog states.
The blogger also filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against TeAMS. The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that an investigative lawyer for the Oversight Committee of the U.S. Congress recently informed the blogger he was interested in examining the allegations against the Technion.
The Technion responded to the blog allegations on its Web site, declaring them slanderous and inaccurate. On April 17, the Technion filed suit in Haifa District Court against Google, which owns Blogger, the company that hosts Blogspot. The university also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, demanding that Google “remove published items that defame and insult the Technion in general, its staff, and in particular one of the flagship programs of the faculty of medicine.”
The Technion’s lawyers argued that, as the owner of Blogger, Google is responsible for deleting the blog, which they say is “entirely dedicated to slander.”
Google said the court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the case. But in a hearing on April 28, Judge Menahem Raniel of the Haifa District Court rejected that claim.
“This is the first time an Israeli court determined the responsibility of World Google as a provider of Web-hosting services to remove defamatory statements on the Internet,” the Technion stated on its Web site this week.
By Friday, Google had not yet shut down the site, but in any case the blog has now been transferred to a new site, www.technionteams.com, hosted by another service provider.
“Rather than investing in fixing the corruption at the Technion Medical School, the Technion Medical School has decided to pay lawyers to make a feeble attempt to once again cover up the continued abuses of the American medical students,” writes a blogger who identifies himself as “Joe Caro” in a new post on the controversial blog.
“The plain truth is that the TeAMS program continues to have an abysmal rate of postgraduate placement with an annual revenue stream exceeding $3,000,000/year. Most often, the American students are at the Technion as a hope of last resort to become a physician after being rejected from all American medical schools and the other American programs in Israel. After investing in excess of $100,000/each into their Technion education, most of the recent graduates have nothing to show except loans due to the US Government,” says the writer.
“I can attest to malfeasance that the Technion appears to be engaged in,” a former student told Haaretz. “The environment was abusive, and when wrongdoings were brought to the school’s attention they reacted in a very defensive and threatening manner.”