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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Dozens' of American universities slam American Studies Association boycott

While only two universities have thus far withdrawn from membership in the American Studies Association as a result of its anti-Semitic boycott of Israel, 'dozens' of universities have issued statements slamming the boycott, and many of them are considering withdrawing from membership in the group.
Schools including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton and Boston universities and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Texas at Austin  and others have slammed the boycott, issuing statements similar to one by Harvard President Drew Faust that said that academic boycotts “subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of scholars.”
Penn State University at Harrisburg and Brandeis University have said they are withdrawing their memberships from the American Studies Association, and other schools are considering doing the same thing. In addition, two major associations of institutions of higher education, the Association of American Universities and the Association of American University Professors, have issued statements rejecting the boycott.
At least three university Presidents have issued statements in response to the boycott. Here are two of them.
President Susan Herbst
University of Connecticut
The recent votes of two scholarly societies — the American Studies Association and Association for Asian American Studies — to endorse the Palestinian boycott of Israeli academic institutions is contrary to both academic freedom and the international exchange of ideas. The University of Connecticut joins the American Association of University Professors in firmly opposing all such boycotts. Choosing one nation for a boycott is patently unfair and represents a disturbing philosophy among some segments of the academy.
Academic leaders at UConn will continue to visit Israel and Arab nations, invite Israeli and Arab scholars to our campuses, encourage our students and faculty to study in these nations, and pursue research collaboration with the many outstanding Israeli universities. We do this with pride and a productive focus on social justice, to forge the very critical dialogues that will someday lead to the peace we all seek.
I am disappointed and concerned that the American Studies Association, invoking the principle of academic freedom, would vote to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Research, teaching, and scholarship flourish through robust exchange of ideas, across borders and among institutions in different parts of the world. Universities and their faculties can often transcend even profound political differences. It is ill-advised to make academic institutions the instrument with which to promote a political agenda by attempting to isolate students and scholars. Boston University cannot support this boycott.
I hope that there will be a serious discussion within our American & New England Studies Program, which has an institutional membership in the ASA that, obviously, is funded by the University. This institutional membership does not come with a vote that is exercised by either the program or the University. The poll taken by the ASA represents the votes of individual members of the organization. We are not prepared to suggest (implicitly or explicitly) to faculty members who hold individual memberships (some of which are funded out of professional funds allocated to individual faculty members) how they should vote. That would lead us onto a slippery slope.
I do hope the faculty in the American & New England Studies Program will consider whether or not continuing membership in the ASA will create the opportunity for a temperate and thoughtful reconsideration of the wisdom of the boycott.
Would a hemorrhage of members leaving cause them to reconsider? Or will they get funding from 'our friends the Saudis' instead?

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At 9:11 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Ah, no need for the Saudis. The universities get Green $lu$h and endless other $lu$h from Obama/Clinton/KhmerRouge Kerry... just like the Start Up alt.energy companies. Just a pressure point for pacification and euthanization of Israel. Reject ALL $lu$h, if you want to stand up for Israel's continuing existence as a free country.

At 6:45 AM, Blogger debbie said...

Yay UCONN!!!


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