Image 01 Image 03

My email to President of UT-Austin regarding academic boycott of Israel

My email to President of UT-Austin regarding academic boycott of Israel

I just sent my first e-mail to a University President regarding the academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association, and the similar boycott just announced by the small and relatively new Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

I could not find a direct e-mail for the President of UT-Austin, so I emailed the Chief Communications Officer and Deputy to the President. (It is good to email the press people even if you do have the direct email, so that the email to the President is more likely to get attention.)

Here is my email:

To: Geoffrey Leavenworth ([email protected])

CC: Nancy A Brazzil ([email protected])

Dear Mr. Leavenworth:

I write to request the position of the President of the University of Texas – Austin on the academic boycott of Israel in two respects:

1. The University of Texas – Austin is an Institutional Member of the American Studies Association, which just adopted an academic boycott of Israel. The American Association of University Professors has rejected academic boycotts of Israel in general, and has rejected the ASA boycott specifically, on grounds of violation of academic freedom. The anti-Israel boycott also amounts to discrimination on the basis of national origin as Israeli academics will be subjected to verification procedures not applicable to academics from any other nation.

The ASA boycott is pernicious because it includes boycott of programs run by Israeli academic institutions and encourages American academics to police compliance with the boycott. You can find an explantion in my prior post about the boycott. This has particular implications for the University of Austin – Texas since the Schusterman Center interacts with many Israeli academics and institutions, and joint programing with such institutions would be subject to the ASA boycott.

Will the University of Texas – Austin continue its Institutional Membership in ASA in light of the boycott, and will University funds be used to support participation in ASA events that are not open to Israeli academic institutions and/or individual academics representing such institutions?

2. “The Office of the President of the University of Texas, William Powers Jr.” and “The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin” are listed as the lead Sponsors of the Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAISA) 2014 Annual Meeting to be held in Austin in May 2014.

NAISA just announced that it too is joining the academic boycott of Israel, involving the same discriminatory and anti-academic freedom policies as the ASA boycott. In light of the NAISA anti-Israel academic boycott, will the University of Texas – Austin and its academic units continue to be sponsors of the 2014 NAISA annual meeting?

Please let me know the President’s position as soon as possible, as I would like to inform my wide and influential readership where the University of Texas – Austin stands on thiese issues.

Thank you,

William A. Jacobson
Legal Insurrection Blog

I will let you know if and when I receive a response. Depending on the response, I may also write to the Chancellor of the UT system.

I would think that various Texas officials also would find it of interest, so please feel free to forward this post to them.

UPDATE:  A UT alumnus reader suggested another contact:

Note also that the UT College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) is also listed as a sponsor of the NAISA conference. The dean of that college is Randy Diehl: [email protected].

As the CoLA is very new (spun off a few years ago from the oversized College of Arts & Sciences), he’s been particularly active in seeking funds from alumni (including me) …

(Featured Image source: UT-Austin Facebook)


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Anyone in Texas can contact the governor’s office here:

Oh, yeah, the people here in Texas DO take an interest in this, Prof.

Great work. Please keep us posted on further developments.

Excellent work. I very much appreciate your efforts.

Professor Jacobson, you must drive your liberal Cornell colleagues nuts. Oh to be a fly on the faculty lounge wall….;)

It’s about time there’s some “dissent” up there (right, Professor Shiffrin?) For those of you (CLS profs) who don’t know, “dissent” is that thing you probably hate (1) when it leans right or (2) when it’s not coming from you.

Here’s a question from a Cornell Law School alum to my alma mater who loves to call and ask me for money, where are you “academic freedom” loving “progressives” when it comes to supporting Professor Jacobson’s fight against this anti-Semitic boycott? I can’t believe he even has to do this. Cornell should’ve pounced all over this. Lend your voice to this fight, fellas and ladies! You’re all starting to look like blow-hard hypocrites.

Sheesh….Surely, Ted Eisenberg, surely YOU would support Professor Jacobson. (?) Anyone?… Bueller?…

I know CLS profs read Jacobson’s blog and secretly hate that it’s so popular. What’s his secret? He’s got moxie to stand up to what’s right and he’s got common sense. Try it, apply it, join him. And stop asking me for money.

relatively new Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

I am a mouse, hear me roar!

I received separate email “reminders” from my undergraduate university (Stanford) to make my annual gift. I responded that before making a gift this year, I wanted to know whether the University had taken a position on the ASA boycott; if so,what that position was (I couldn’t easily find out on my own); and if not, why not. Awaiting a response.

The ants go marching one by one,
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one,
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to defend Zion,
Hoorah! Hoorah!

“The fiercest serpent may be overcome by a swarm of ants.”

—Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (who was a student at Harvard, 1919-1921.)

    GrumpyOne in reply to LukeHandCool. | December 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    When it comes to push or shove, Israel ain’t gonna go down without first exacting a very heavy price.

    Stupid is as stupid does and our fearless little puppet emperor fails on all levels.

    I sure hope that Israel does what it needs to do very soon…

The UT Chancellor is useless. He vaulted from Pediatric surgeon and head of a small subsection to President of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio due to his ethnicity. After a scrutiny-free tenure there, he was affirmative-actioned into this job.

2nd Ammendment Mother | December 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Good Job Prof…. Texas is an excellent place to start making a stand against what I can only call insanity. Texans do support Israel.

And for a good time, I’d include the Governor’s office in the discussion. Perry would enjoy causing discomfort for UT for supporting anti-semitism on the taxpayers dime.

This is to clarify that my people are not participating in this boycott of Israel.
Native American and Indigenous Studies Association does not represent the Native and Indigenous peoples of America.

Oh my. This is most inconvenient of you, sir.

This will NOT end well for you:

Sprinkle a little of that LI blog email glitter on North Carolina, namely UNC-Chapel Hill.