Thursday, December 26, 2013

Via Camera: Statements from Universities That Withdrew from the ASA

As of today, 54 institutions have rejected the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli institutions.

Camera has a nice summary, current as of Dec. 24th

Statements from Universities That Withdrew from the ASA
American Studies Program
"It is a with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional affiliation with the American Studies Association. We view the recent vote by the membership to affirm an academic boycott of Israel as a politicization of the discipline and a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster."
Indiana University
President Michael A. McRobbie
"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 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."
Kenyon CollegePresident Sean Decatur
"Academic freedom – the unfettered exchange of ideas – is a cornerstone of liberal education...I cherish academic freedom and I oppose the ASA boycott of Israel...
...The ASA is, first and foremost, an academic society aimed at the promotion of interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history. This commitment to scholarship, teaching, and learning is what drew Kenyon to participate in ASA activities in the past. But, as the president of a College with an unwavering commitment to the liberal arts and the concept of academic freedom, I reject the notion of a boycott of academic institutions as a geopolitical tool. I concur with the decision of our American Studies program to withdraw as an institutional member of the ASA."
Penn State Harrisburg
American Studies Department Chairman Simon J. Bronner
"As a prominent program in American Studies concerned for the welfare of its students and faculty, Penn State Harrisburg is worried that the recent actions by the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) do not reflect the longstanding scholarly enterprise American Studies stands for. The withdrawal of institutional membership by our program and others allows us to be independent of the political and ideological resolutions issued by the ASA and concentrate on building American Studies scholarship with our faculty, students, and staff. There might be alternative organizations forming in the future that better represent the field of American Studies. When and if that occurs, we will re-examine our independent position. In the meantime we view this move as one intended to protect students and faculty from opprobrium as a result of the ASA’s claim to represent scholars of American studies."
 Read it all here, at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

1 comment:

Gary Fouse said...

The message here should be loud and clear: These ASA folks would be the first to scream academic freedom when they don't get their way. Yet they would deny that same academic freedom to academics and universities in Israel. In addition, we don't see them passing resolutions to boycott universities and academics in places like Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, China, or dozens of other countries where human rights don't exist. Only Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, the only nation that protects religious minority rights. Why is that?

"We have to start someplace," is the answer of ASA President Professor Curtis Marez of UC San Diego. How disingenuous. No, it is because the entire boycott effort against the Jewish state is well-orchestrated by Palestinian activists and their operatives on university campuses all over North America (including Canada). Why do you think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the number one issue of contention on campuses everywhere? The various Muslim Student Associations and their sister group, Students for Justice in Palestine, work very hard to ensure that, much to the annoyance of the vast majority of students on campus, most of whom won't speak out lest they be accused of being "Islamophobic Zionists" or some such rot.

So kudos to the universities who are standing up and telling the ASA that they can pass all the resolutions they want. It's not going to change a thing. It's just a lot of noise, much like the cheering of the Wrigley Field bleacher bums.