The List of Universities rejecting academic boycott of Israel is growing rapidly. These two announcements are significant because they involve withdrawals of Institutional Membership, not just condemnation. This makes four universities (Penn State Harrisburg, Brandeis, Kenyon, Indiana) who are withdrawing membership, plus several others (Willamette, Hamilton, Northwestern, Tufts) who deny being Institutional Members even though listed.
I just received the following email from Sean Decatur, President of Kenyon College:
Sorry for the quick answer — I am on the road with family for the holidays. I will be posting a full public statement on my blog later today.
(1) I oppose the ASA boycott, for many reasons that have been stated elsewhere (most eloquently by Michael Roth in the LA Times). The institutional membership of Kenyon has been under the purview of our American Studies Program; the chair of that program wrote to the ASA on Friday to indicate that the program is withdrawing Kenyon’s institutional membership, and Kenyon will not renew for the coming year, because of the ASA’s actions with the boycott. I agree with and support this decision.
(2) We are taking the position of the AAUP — while we are terminating our relationship as an institution, we support the academic freedom for our faculty and students to decide for themselves on participation in ASA activities on research, scholarship, and teaching (conferences, publications, etc.).
Update: Indiana University just issued the following statement:
Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has issued the following statement on the proposed boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education:
“Indiana University joins other leading research universities in condemning in the strongest possible terms the boycott of institutions of higher education in Israel as proposed by the American Studies Association and other organizations. Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them. Indiana University strongly endorses the recent statement on this matter by the Association of American Universities and the long-standing position in this area of the American Association of University Professors.
“Indiana University values its academic relationships with colleagues and institutions around the world, including many important ones with institutions in Israel, and will not allow political considerations such as those behind this ill-conceived boycott to weaken those relationships or undermine the principle of academic freedom in this way. IU stands firmly against proposals that would attempt to limit or restrict those important institutional relationships or this fundamental principle.
“Indiana University will contact the ASA immediately to withdraw as an institutional member. We urge the leadership of the ASA and other associations supporting the boycott to rescind this dangerous and ill-conceived action as a matter of urgency.”
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