Reader-created contact list and call to action.
I have received a surprisingly large number of emails of support from people outraged at the anti-Israel academic boycott passed by the American Studies Association. Almost all of those emails come from new readers.
The question many of them ask is what they can do to help me not only in the challenge to ASA’s tax-exempt status, but also to oppose the boycott.
Readers can take action themselves by contacting University Presidents and Trustees for those 83 universities who are Institutional Members of the ASA, as well as the head of the university sytem for state institutions.
Institutional Membership lends the good name of the university to a boycott that is anti-academic freedom and that subjects visiting Israeli scholars and faculty who hold joint appointments to discrimination on the basis of national origin. Those memberships also likely reflect that university funds are used to support faculty participation in ASA events, ASA’s main source of revenue.
I will be writing today to the President of Cornell University, whose Cornell-Technion campus being built in New York City will be subject to the boycott and whose visiting Israeli scholars and joint appointees will be subject to discrimination by ASA on the basis of national origin.
I also think it is appropriate to contact Senators, Congressmen, and Governors (for state university systems who maintain an Institutional Membership) since taxpayer money is used to subsidize participation in ASA events.
It would be nice to have a single contact list, right? That’s where you can help me.
We don’t have the staff here or the resources to devote to pulling together the contact information for the 83 Institutional Members of ASA.
So if you want to help, please post in the comments the contact information (full name, title, address, e-mail address) for the University President, Chair of the Board of Trustees, University System President (if applicable), and politicians in states whose state universities are members (Governor, Congressman for the District, Senators).
NOTE ADDED – where there is no direct email for the President of a University, provide the email for the Chief Communications Officer and Assistant to the President.
You can check the comments to get the information, and we also will pull the information from the comments into a single list.
I can’t predict the likelihood of success. Already Penn State Harrisburg has announced its intention to withdraw membership, although it is unclear if funding still will be provided to attend ASA events.
Mark Rice, Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, thinks more will follow:
It will be interesting to see what the ASA institutional membership roll looks like at this time next year. It will take about that long to see which institutions may decide to withdraw from the association (and which others, if any, may decide to join).
Indeed, I’ve already heard from folks who say that they plan to drop their institutional membership because of the boycott vote. It’s too soon to say that an exodus has begun, but there is some real discontent out there.
It will happen only if good people speak up against this travesty.
UPDATE/NOTE 12-25-2013 — Many schools have responded, please check the List of Universities rejecting academic boycott of Israel. Focus the effort on those which have not yet made a statement.
Also, StandWithUs has a resource page with sample letters and addresses.