Support for academic boycott of Israel is incompatible with a position of academic leadership
We previously wrote about the firestorm that erupted over the appointment of Professor N. Bruce Duthu to be Dean of the Faculty at Dartmouth College, New Dartmouth Dean of Faculty endorsed academic boycott of Israel, here’s what that entails.
In that post, I questioned how Duthu could fulfill the duties of the position of Dean of Faculty in light of the sweeping nature of the academic boycott guidelines:
As you can see, the academic boycott guidelines are sweeping in their effect and implications….
Should endorsement of the academic boycott by Prof. Duthu in and of itself disqualify him from leading the faculty at Dartmouth? …
It’s hard to see how, if Duthu believed and believes what he was endorsing when he signed onto the academic boycott of Israel, he can fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
Academic BDS is anathema to the core values and responsibilities of a Dean of Faculty.
Duthu appeared to try to smooth out the disconnect by announcing he no longer supported academic boycotts, though his statement did not sound very genuine, New Dartmouth Dean of Faculty withdraws support for academic boycott of Israel:
Apparently Duthu came to the same conclusion, that he couldn’t both support academic BDS and fulfill the responsibilities of the position of Dean of Students. He made the choice to keep his new position….
Nowhere in his abandonment of his prior position does Prof. Duthu acknowledge the fundamental wrong he committed by advocating the boycott of Israeli academia at the time it mattered — when the American Studies Association (ASA) and Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) were considering the boycott in late 2013.
Prof. Duthu also carefully limits his new position to academic BDS, which suggests he still supports the cultural and economic aspects of BDS.
It would have taken great courage for Prof. Duthu to stand up to his Israel-hating colleagues and to speak in favor of academic freedom even if he shared that hatred of Israel. Instead, Prof. Duthu took the easy route of going along with the anti-Israel academic crowd.
Prof. Duthu’s statement sounds like someone who is sorry he got caught, rather than sorry for the act itself.
Duthu’s initial action didn’t completely calm the controversy, and now he has withdrawn from the position of Dean of Faculty, as The Dartmouth reports:
Native American studies professor N. Bruce Duthu ’80 announced today in a faculty-wide email that he has declined his appointment as the next dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. His announcement follows concerns regarding his co-authorship of a 2013 declaration supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions
In his announcement, Duthu stated that he will also step down from his current position as associate dean of the faculty for international studies and interdisciplinary programs on July 1 and return to the Native American studies department as a faculty member.
Here is is letter as provided in The Dartmouth:
Dartblog, run by Dartmouth alums, which was the first to highlight Duthu’s BDS connection, suggests that alumni pressure and bad national publicity likely led to Duthu’s withdrawal:
I wonder what was the straw that broke the administration’s resolve: faculty consternation (to be expressed at today’s meeting of the faculty); alumni upset; the potential for the story to break into the national press?
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Addendum: A longtime Friend of Dartblog writes in:
As for your possible explanations, I think the one about the national press makes most sense now:http://www.newsweek.com/dartmouth-dean-accused-anti-israel-bias-colleague-611113
Where Newsweek goes, can the Times be far behind?
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
You draw your own conclusion. Duthu’s step down is attributed to pressure from external audiences. How about the Professor not being willing to disavow a statement in favor of a policy the college condemns? How about a flawed search process? So, the cabal of “external audiences” has now set back the causes of diversity and inclusion and interdisciplinary study.
The Algemeiner reports that Duthu still had supporters, including the head of Jewish Studies:
Susannah Heschel, the chair of Dartmouth’s Jewish studies program, told The Algemeiner on Monday, “Most of my faculty colleagues at Dartmouth are very saddened by the news [of Duthu’s resignation].”
“I was very disappointed that so many people attacked Bruce rather than talking to him,” Heschel said, adding that she maintained anti-Zionists should be educated, not berated.
“I imagine the attacks against Bruce must have been very disheartening to him, and to the extent that those attacks came from the Jewish community and the Zionist community, I regret it very much and feel it was an error,” she said.
Also, via The Algemeiner, some pro-Israel students anticipate a backlash:
Sandor Farkas, the outgoing president of Dartmouth Students for Israel, said he was concerned that this contentious incident would result in “repercussions” for the pro-Israel community from left-wing students and faculty who supported Duthu.
“I would not be surprised if we saw some actual antisemitism [on campus],” he said. “I am also worried that the college administration will pick a progressive radical in order to appease the inevitable leftist anger at this development.”
That fear of a backlash may be justified. A letter of support for Duthu, prior to his withdrawal, had obtained over 500 signatures:
Whether there’s a backlash or not, the fact is that support for BDS is completely incompatible with a position of academic leadership. As detailed in our first post about Duthu, supporting the academic boycott of Israel means supporting the gross violation of the academic freedom of the entire community and demands active participation in discrimination.
Hard and fast rule: Support for academic BDS is incompatible with a position of academic leadership.DONATE
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