Contributed by Thomas Rochon on 01/09/2014
In mid-December, the American Studies Association voted to boycott Israel’s higher-education institutions to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians. I have subsequently been asked by some members of the Ithaca College community to articulate my position on the boycott.
Ithaca College has a history of standing for academic freedom. We also have a history of supporting the underlying practices that make academic freedom effective: freedom of scholars to conduct their research, to associate with each other to share and refine their ideas, and to publish the findings and conclusions of their scholarly work. Academic boycotts, whatever their motivation may be, infringe on these central tenets of higher learning. Several scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association, have recently resolved to boycott Israeli universities. Although Ithaca College has no institutional relationship with those scholarly associations and therefore no venue for communication directly with them, the principles for which we stand lead us to conclude that such boycotts are antithetical to the constructive exchange of ideas in the global communities of scholarship.
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