PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE WELCOMES STRONG REJECTION BY AMERICAN ACADEMIC COMMUNITY OF ASA BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL. GROWING NATIONWIDE REJECTION OF BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS CAMPAIGN

New York, NY

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed the many responses from presidents of leading universities and academic associations across the United States rejecting the call by the American Studies Association for a boycott of Israeli universities.  Responding to a letter from Conference leaders, Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, that underscored the impropriety of the boycott vote and the need for all institutions with a relationship to the ASA to withdraw their support and any direct or indirect funding, many university presidents provided responses that rejected and condemned the ASA’s decision, unfettered.  

Sugarman and Hoenlein said, “It is essential to draw the line here and now. The ASA resolution is a wakeup call. Allowed to go unchallenged, it will lead to other associations being hijacked by extremist minorities seeking to isolate and delegitimize Israel.  Only about 16% of the members of the ASA actually voted in favor of the resolution. We call on the ASA to promptly rescind the decision publicly.

“We are encouraged and pleased by the strong public stands taken by many presidents of our country’s finest schools of higher education. So far, Brandeis University, Indiana University, Kenyon College, and Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg have stated that they will withdraw from the ASA, with many others rejecting the Association’s resolution. Presidents and Chancellors of Brown University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Kenyon College, Northwestern University, Stanford University, Trinity College, Tufts University, University of Southern California, Washington University in St. Louis, Smith College, amongst many others have personally responded to the Conference of Presidents’ statement yesterday, expressing their concern about this development in the strongest terms.

Harvard University President, Drew Faust expressed full support of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities’ statement.
“Academic boycotts subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of scholars. The recent resolution of the ASA proposing to boycott Israeli universities represents a direct threat to these ideals, ideals which universities and scholarly associations should be dedicated to defend.” (Full statement here)
 
Indiana University President, Michael A. McRobbie concludes his statement with the university’s motion to withdraw itself as an institutional member of the ASA.
"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 strongly endorses the recent statement on this matter by the Association of American Universities and the long-standing position in this area of the American Association of University Professors. 
"Indiana University values its academic relationships with colleagues and institutions around the world, including many important ones with institutions in Israel, and will not allow political considerations such as those behind this ill-conceived boycott to weaken those relationships or undermine the principle of academic freedom in this way. IU stands firmly against proposals that would attempt to limit or restrict those important institutional relationships or this fundamental principle.”
 
Kenyon College’s President, Sean Decatur spoke with the chair of their American Studies program, Professor Peter Rutkoff, who also agreed not to renew the program’s membership for 2014.  In a letter to Sugarman and Hoenlein, Decatur wrote:
“Personally, I disagree with the boycott of scholars from Israeli institutions by the American Studies Association; I believe that this is in direct opposition to the values of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas that educational institutions such as Kenyon champion.  There have not been discussions at Kenyon about joining in any of the BDS activities, nor do we support any such movement.”
 
“…This is among the most powerful arguments in opposition to the decision of the ASA to boycott institutions from Israel.  Regardless of one’s views on the political solutions to Israeli/Palestinian relations, the cultural transformation needed to find peace in the region will depend on these types of discussions, which in turn require strong academic institutions with free and unfettered exchange of ideas with scholars from around the world.  Collaborations among individual scholars and among institutions have the potential to support and nurture this cultural transformation.  We should not be shutting out one side or the other, but rather open ourselves to engage in meaningful, substantial dialogue on fundamental questions with all sides.
“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.” (Full blog post here)
 
The President and Provost of Northwestern University, Morton Schapiro and Dan Linzer stated:
“Recently the membership of the American Studies Association approved a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli higher education institutions. Two other U.S. academic associations have also advocated that stance. While we support the right of academicians to voice their viewpoints, Northwestern University disagrees strongly with the boycott vote of the ASA. Northwestern also rejects the actions suggested in the resolution. In fact, we believe the ASA resolution directly contradicts the values of academic freedom and advancing scholarship for which Northwestern stands.
“Northwestern University faculty and students should have the ability to pursue academic collaborations with their colleagues at institutions around the world, including Israel.  Northwestern for years has had highly successful and valued joint degree programs and extensive partnerships with Israeli institutions and scholars. We intend to maintain and strengthen relationships such as these…’
 
Trinity College President, James F. Jones, Jr. wrote to the President of ASA:
“Our Dean of the Faculty, Thomas Mitzel, and I wish to go on record announcing the boycott of Israel on the part of the ASA.  Trinity once years back was an institutional member (we were then advertizing for an open position), and apparently some members of our faculty are individual members.  Were we still an institutional member, we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East.  The Dean and I oppose academic boycotts in general because they can so easily encroach upon academic freedom.  In this strange case, why the ASA would propose an academic boycott of Israel and not, for example, of Syria, the Sudan, North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq, or Russia escapes rational thought.  Trinity has participated in the Rescue Scholar program since its inception;  we have welcomed scholars from some of the most repressive countries on the planet, and it is inconceivable to us that we would ever be welcoming a Rescue Scholar fleeing Israel for political reasons.
           
“As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association.”
 
Below is a listing of those who have rejected the boycott action and taken steps to disassociate from the ASA, as well as major academic organizations that came out against this blatantly discriminatory measure.
 
  1. Cornell University (President David Skorton), ASA Institutional Member, AAU signatory
  2. Kenyon College (President Sean M. Decatur), ASA Institutional Member  
  3. Michigan State University (President Lou Anna K. Simon), ASA Institutional Member, AAU signatory
  4. Smith College, ASA Institutional Member (President Carol T. Christ)
  5. Trinity College (President James F. Jones, Jr.)
  6. University of Texas, Austin (President William C. Powers), ASA Institutional Member, AAU signatory
 
The Association of American Universities released a statement, signed by the President of AAU, Hunter R. Rawlings III, and ten university presidents (noted above) and endorsed by many others in their own statements on the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
 
Additionally, eight former ASA Presidents urged all members of the Association to vote to reject the boycott, stating in their letter that “we believe academic boycotts to be antithetical to the mission of free and open inquiry for which a scholarly organization stands… we see an academic boycott as setting a dangerous precedent by sponsoring an inequitable and discriminatory policy that would punish one nation’s universities and scholars.” The signatories on this letter are listed below:
 
  1. Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Stanford University - ASA President 2004-2005
  2. Michael Frisch, University at Buffalo, SUNY - ASA President 2000-2001
  3. Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California - ASA President 2005-2006
  4. Mary Kelley, University of Michigan - ASA President 1999-2000
  5. Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa - ASA President 1988-1999
  6. Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University - ASA President 1991-1992
  7. Patricia Limerick, University of Colorado - ASA President 1996-1997
  8. Elaine Tyler May, University of Minnesota - ASA President 1995-1996
 
The Association of American University Professors also released a statement, concluding, “AAUP will continue to oppose all academic boycotts and urge supporters of those boycotts to find other means to register their opposition to policies they find abhorrent.”
 
Sugarman and Hoenlein lauded these efforts and actions and cited them as a potential turning point in the battle against those engaged in the campaign of disinformation and misinformation regarding Israel, promoting activities that seek to isolate and demonize Israel and its supporters. In this case the truth won out. We must make sure that continues across the country.
 
ADDENDUM:
 
Contact information of Presidents and Chancellors of ASA member universities
that HAVE released statements against the ASA resolution (as of 12/24/13):
 
Dr. Robert A. Brown
Boston University
Office of the President
1 Silber Way, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 2215
Phone: (617) 353-2200
 
 
Mr. Frederick M. Lawrence
Brandeis University
Office of the President
MS 100
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453-2728
Phone: 781-736-3015
Fax: (781) 736-8699
 
 
Dr. Christina H. Paxson
Brown University
Office of the President
1 Prospect Street / Box 1860
Providence, RI 2912
Phone: 401-863-2234
Fax: (401) 863-7737
 
 
Dr. David J. Skorton
Cornell University
Office of the President
300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-5201
Fax: 607-255-9924
 
 
Dr. Nancy A. Roseman
Dickinson College
Office of the President
First floor, West College (Old West)
Post Office Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Phone: 717-245-1322
 
 
Dr. Steven Knapp
George Washington University
Office of the President
Rice Hall
2121 I Street, NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-6500
 
 
Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust
Harvard University
Office of the President
Massachusetts Hall
Cambridge, MA 2138
Phone: (617) 495-1502
Fax: (617) 495-8550
 
 
Dr. Michael A. McRobbie
Indiana University
Office of the President
Bryan Hall 200
107 S. Indiana Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: (812) 855-4613
Fax: 812-855-9586
 
 
Dr. Sean Decatur
Kenyon College
Office of the President
Ransom Hall
Gambier, OH 43022
Phone: 740-427-5111
 
 
Dr. Patrick O'Donnell
Michigan State University, English Department
Wells Hall C617
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 355-7570
 
 
Dr. John Sexton
New York University
Office of the President
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-998-2345
Fax: 212-995-4790
 
 
Dr. Morton Shapiro
Northwestern University
Office of the President
2-130 Rebecca Crown Center
633 Clark Street
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-491-7456
Fax: 847-467-3104
 
 
Dr. Mukund S. Kulkarni
Penn State University, Harrisburg
Office of the Chancellor
C119 Olmsted Building
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057
Phone: 717-948-6105
Fax: 717 948 6100
 
Mr. Christopher L. Eisgruber
Princeton University
Office of the President
1 Nassau Hall
Princeton, NJ 8544
Phone: 609-258-6101
Fax: 609-258-1615
 
 
Dr. Carol T. Christ
Smith College
Office of the President
College Hall 201
Northampton, MA 1063
Phone: 413-585-2105
 
 
Dr. Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Stanford University, American Studies Program
450 Serra Mall, Bldg 460
Stanford, CA 94305-2022
Phone: 650-723-3413
 
 
Dr. James F. Jones, Jr.
Trinity College, Hartford, CT.
Office of the President
300 Summit St.
Hartford, CT 06106-3100
Phone: 860-297-2086
 
 
Dr. Anthony P. Monaco
Tufts University
Office of the President
Ballou Hall
Medford, MA 2155
Phone: 617-627-3300
Fax: 617-627-3555
 
 
Mr. Pradheep K. Khosla
University of California, San Diego
Office of the Chancellor
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone: 858-534-3135
Fax: 858-534-6523
 
 
Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Office of the President
Administration Bldg , Room 1008
1000 Hilltop Cir.
Baltimore, MD 21250
Phone: 410-455-3880
 
Dr. C.L. Max Nikias
University of Southern California
Office of the President
Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019
Phone: 213-740-2111
Fax: 213-821-1342
 
Mr. William Powers, Jr.
University of Texas, Austin
Office of the President
Main Building 400 (G3400)
PO Box T
Austin, TX 78713
Phone: 512-471-1232
Fax: 512-471-8102
 
 
Dr. Mark S. Wrighton
Washington University, St. Louis
Office of the Chancellor
Campus Box 1192
1 Brookings Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: 314-935-5100
 
Contact information of Presidents and Chancellors of ASA member universities
that HAVE NOT released statements against the ASA resolution (as of 12/24/13):
 
Dr. Susan Weber
Bard Graduate Center
18 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 501-3051
 
 
Father William P. Leahy
Boston College
Office of the President
Botolph House Genrl
18 Old Colony Road
Chestnut Hill, MA 2467
Phone: 617-552-3250
 
 
Dr. Cecil O. Samuelson
Brigham Young University
Office of the President
D-346 ASB
Provo, UT 84602
Phone: 801-422-2521
 
 
Dr. Mildred Garcia
California State University, Fullerton
Office of the President 
2600 Nutwood Avenue, CP-1000
Fullerton, CA 92831
Phone: 657-278-3456
 
 
Dr. Donald J. Para
California State University, Long Beach
Office of the President
Brotman Hall BH-300
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-0115
Phone: 562-985-4121
 
 
Dr. Subra Suresh
Carnegie-Mellon University
Office of the President
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-2000
 
 
Professor Peter Loewen
Centre for the Study of the United States
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
1 Devonshire Place, Room 327N
Toronto ON  M5S 3K7
Canada
Phone: 416 946 8011
Fax: 416 946 8915
 
 
Dr. William J. Fritz
College of Staten Island, CUNY
Office of the President
2800 Victory Blvd
New York, NY 10314
 
 
Mr. W. Taylor Revely, III
College of William and Mary
Office of the President
Brafferton 202
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Phone: (757) 221-1693
 
 
Ms. Alice Walton
Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AK 72712
Phone: 479-418-5700
 
 
Dr. Duncan Faherty
CUNY Graduate Center, American Studies Certificate Program
365 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10016-4309
Phone: 718-997-4778
 
 
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider
DePaul University
Office of the President
1 East Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604-2287
Phone: 312-362-8850
 
 
Dr. Philip Davies
Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library
96 Euston Rd
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom
Phone: 44-20-7412-7551
 
 
Dr. James W. Wagner
Emory University
Office of the President
408 Administration Building
201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: 404.727.6013
Fax: 404.727.5997
 
 
Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Fordham University
Office of the President
Room 107, Cunniffe House
Rose Hill Campus
441 E. Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: 718-817-3000
 
 
Dr. James G. Moseley
Franklin College of Indiana
Office of the President
Old Main
101 Branigin Blvd
Franklin, IN 46131
Phone: (317) 738-8010
 
 
Dr. John J. DeGioia
Georgetown University
Office of the President
3700 O St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20057
Phone: 202-687-4134
 
 
Dr. Joan Hinde Stewart
Hamilton College
Office of the President
Buttrick Hall
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Phone: 315-859-4104
 
 
Mr. Andrew Masich
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
1212 Smallman St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-454-6371
 
 
Dr. Daniel S. Papp
Kennesaw State University
The Office of the President
1000 Chastain Road, #0101
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: 770-423-6033
Fax: 770-423-6543
 
 
Dr. Alice P. Gast
Lehigh University
Office of the President
27 Memorial Drive West
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone: 610-758-3157
Fax: 610-758-3154
 
 
Mr. Neil Watson
The Long Island Museum
1200 Route 25A 
Stonybrook, NY 11790
Phone: (631) 751-0066
Fax: (631) 751-0353
 
 
Dr. Ronald D. Liebowitz
Middlebury College
President of the College
Old Chapel
9 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury, VT 5753
Phone: 802-443-3060
 
 
Dr. Peter Phillip Mercer
Ramapo College
Office of the President
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ 7430
Phone: 201-684-7607
 
 
Dr. Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr.
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Office of the President
101 Vera King Farris Drive
Galloway, NJ 8205
Phone: 609-652-1776
 
 
Dr. Mordechai Rozanski
Rider University
Office of the President
Moore Library 101
2083 Lawrenceville Rd
Lawrenceville, NJ 8648
Phone: 609-896-5001
Fax: 609-895-5681
 
 
Dr. Donald J. Farish
Roger Williams University
Office of the President
1 Old Ferry Rd
Bristol, RI 2809
Phone: 401-254-3201
 
 
Dr. Ali A. Houshmand
Rowan College of New Jersey
Office of the President
201 Mullica Hill Rd
Glassboro, NJ 8028
Phone: 856-256-4110
 
 
Dr. Robert Barchi
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Office of the President
83 Somerset St
New Brunswick, NJ 8901
Phone: 848-932-7454
Fax: 732-932-0308
 
 
Dr. Donald E. Bain
Saint John Fisher College
Office of the President
3690 East Ave
Rochester, NY 14618
Phone: 585-385-8010
Fax: 585-385-8289
 
 
Mr. William R. Kauffman
Saint Louis University
Office of the President
DuBourg Hall, Rm 219
1 North Grand
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: 314-977-2506
 
 
Dr. David Anderson
Saint Olaf College
Office of the President
1520 St. Olaf Ave
Northfield, MN 55057
Phone: 507-786-2222 x3000
 
 
Dr.  Philip A. Glotzbach
Skidmore College
Office of the President
Palamountain Hall, 4th Fl
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: 518-580-5700
Fax: 518-580-5699
 
 
Dr. Neal King
Sophia University
Office of the President
1069 East Meadow Circle
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: 650-493-4430 x. 229
Fax: 650-493-6835
 
 
Mr. Brendan J. Dugan
St. Francis College
Office of the President
180 Remsen St.
Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
Phone: 718-522-2300
 
 
Dr. Wendy B. Libby
Stetson University
Office of the President
421 N. Woodland Blvd.
DeLand, FL 32723
Phone: 386-822-7220
 
 
Ms. Marlene B. Seltzer
Students At The Center
88 Broad St., 8th Floor
Boston, MA 2110
Phone: 617-728-4446
Fax: 617-728-4857
 
 
Dr. Neil D. Theobald
Temple University
Office of the President
2nd Floor, Sullivan Hall
1330 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: 215-204-7405
Fax: 215-204-5600
 
 
Ms. Judy Bonner
University of Alabama
Office of the President
203 Rose Administration Building
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: 205-348-5103
Fax: 205-348-7238
 
 
Dr. Patrick Harker
University of Delaware
Office of the President
104 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716-0101
Phone: 302-831-2111
Fax: 302-831-1297
 
 
Dr. David Lassner
University of Hawaii
Office of the President
Bachman Hall 202
2444 Dole St.
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: 808-956-8207
Fax: 808-956-5286
 
 
Dr. Sally Mason
University of Iowa
Office of the President
101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IO 52242-1316
Phone: 319-335-3549
Fax: 319-335-0807
 
 
Dr. Eric W. Kaler
University of Minnesota
Office of the President
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-626-1616
Fax: 612-625-3875
 
 
Dr. Daniel W. Jones
University of Mississippi
Office of the Chancellor
Lyceum 123
PO Box 1848
University, MS 38677
Phone: 662-915-7111
Fax: 662-915-5935
 
 
Dr. Robert G. Frank
University of New Mexico
Office of the President
MSC05 3300
Scholes Hall Ste. 144
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Phone: 505-277-2626
Fax: 505-277-5965
 
 
Dr. Carol L. Folt
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Office of the Chancellor
103 South Building
Campus Box 9100
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9100
Phone: 919-962-1365
Fax: 919-962-1647
 
 
Rev. John I. Jenkins
University of Notre Dame
Office of the President
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Phone: 574-631-3903
 
 
Dr. David Ray
University of Oklahoma Honors College
David L. Boren Hall, 1300 Asp
Norman, OK 73019
Phone: 405-325-5291
 
 

Dr. Rodney D. Bennett

University of Southern Mississippi
Office of the President
PO Box 05001
118 College Dr.
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Phone: 601-266-5001
 
 
Dr. David E. Daniel
University of Texas, Dallas
Office of the President
800 West Campbell Rd.
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
Phone: 972-883-2201
Fax: 972-883-2237
 
 
Dr. David W. Pershing
University of Utah
Office of the President
201 Presidents Circle, Room 203
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Phone: 801-581-5701
Fax: 801-581-6892
 
 
Dr. Amit Chakma
University of Western Ontario
Office of the President
Stevenson Hall, Suite 2107
London ON  N6A 5B8
Canada
Phone: 519-661-3106
 
 
Dr. Richard McGinity
University of Wyoming
Office of the President
1000 E. University Ave.
Dept. 3434
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: 307-766-4121
Fax: 307-766-4126
 
 
Mr. Nicholas S. Zeppos
Vanderbilt University
Office of the Chancellor
211 Kirkland Hall
Nashville, TN 37240
Phone: 615-322-1813
Fax: 615-322-6060
 
 
Dr. Catharine Bond Hill
Vassar College
Office of the President
124 Raymond Ave., Box 0001
Main Building, 2nd Floor
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0001
Phone: 845-437-7200
 
 
Dr. Elson S. Floyd
Washington State University
Office of the President
French Administration Building, Room 422
PO Box 641048
Pullman, WA 99164-1048
Phone: 509-335-4200
 
 
Dr. James W. Schmotter
Western Connecticut State University
Office of the President
181 White St.
Danbury, CT 6810
Phone: 203-837-8754
Fax: 203-837-8283
 
 
Dr. Stephen E. Thorsett
Willamette University
Office of the President
900 State St.
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-370-6209
 
 
Prof. J. Ritche Garrison
Winterthur Program in Early American Culture
77 East Main Street
Newark, DE 19711
Phone: 302-831-2678
 
 
Dr. Randy J. Dunn
Youngstown State University
Office of the President
Tod Hall 214
1 University Plaza
Youngstown, OH 44555
Phone: 330-941-3101

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