Anti-Israel faculty brought this on themselves by turning academia into political war.
By now most of our readers should be familiar with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement.
Recently a UAW affiliate representing graduate student instructors passed a BDS resolution. A paltry 20% of the membership bothered to vote, but as often is the case in these things, the anti-Israel students were more motivated, and the resolution passed. The vote at Berkeley was outsize in favor of BDS (no shock there) and made much of the vote margin.
That resolution committed the membership to agitating against Israel in the classrooms, something that violated the U. California rules on classroom conduct. University officials confirmed that position.
Dozens of faculty signed a petition in favor of the grad student BDS resolution.
A coalition of pro-Israel groups wrote to U.C. officials demanding to know whether the conduct rules also would apply to faculty.
Dear President Napolitano and Provost Dorr,
As you know, on December 4th the UAW 2865, the UC graduate student union representing 13,000 graduate instructors, voted on a resolution calling for the union to join the international campaign for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” against Israel and urging its graduate student members to pledge their personal participation in the academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars. In light of this vote, we are especially grateful for your having sent to all UC Chancellors a memorandum enumerating the university policies which prohibit graduate student instructors from using university classrooms to promote anti-Israel propaganda or an antisemitic boycott of the Jewish state, in particular the Regents Policy on Course Content, which states:
“[The Regents] are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest. Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination… constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.”
The clear application of the Regents Policy on Course Content to UC graduate students raises the question about its potential application to UC faculty.
In this regard, more than 40 UC faculty members signed a statement of support for the UAW 2865’s call to join the international BDS movement, saying: “As faculty, it is now our turn to support our student-workers, teaching assistants, and advisees as they take this bold and courageous step”. In addition, more than 200 UC faculty, including several department chairs and program directors, have themselves endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
Although we recognize that faculty have every right as private citizens to support student BDS initiatives and to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, we are concerned that these same faculty may try to bring their enmity towards the Jewish state and the promotion of efforts to harm it into their university classrooms and conference halls. Unfortunately, those faculty who misuse the university in this way contribute to the creation of a hostile and threatening environment for many Jewish students, who report feeling harassed and intimidated by their professors and isolated from their peers.
Therefore, can you please clarify if the Regents Policy on Course Content that applies to graduate student instructors also applies to UC faculty members?
Thank you for letting us know.
The following 22 organizations:
Accuracy in Academia
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
CUFI on Campus
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America
The Provost of U.C. just delivered a letter confirming that the conduct rules applied to faculty — effectively banning BDS proselytizing by faculty in their courses.
That is a huge win for those who seek to prevent faculty (and grad teachers) from using their positions of power over students to enforce their political activism.
Here is part of the press release from the AMCHA Initiative (which by the way, is viscerally hated by BDS faculty because it defends the rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students against faculty bullies):
Twenty-two advocacy groups on Monday, Dec. 22, applauded University of California (UC) Provost Aimee Dorr and UC administrators for protecting the well-bring of Jewish students. For the first time ever, UC administrators publicly affirmed that UC faculty are prohibited from bringing hateful anti-Semitic propaganda and the boycott of Israel into the classroom….
In a better world, none of this would have been necessary.
But it’s not a better world, it’s a world in which academic freedom is actively undermined by BDS advocates, and where academia is exploited as a branch of political warfare against Israel and its supporters.
Having completely politicized every aspect of campus life — from academic programs to the selection of hummus in the dining hall — BDS student and faculty activists have forfeited any right to complain about the political pushback.DONATE
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