CU leaders oppose boycott of Israeli academic institutions

Association’s stand called an affront to academic freedom
By Staff

University of Colorado leadership is stating its strong opposition to a national association’s recent call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The American Studies Association last month voted to boycott Israel’s higher-education institutions as a protest of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, a resolution that prompted outcries from many U.S. universities, including CU.

“The University of Colorado community values open inquiry, vigorous debate and the free exchange of ideas,” CU President Bruce Benson said in a statement. “The boycott of Israeli academic institutions proposed by the American Studies Association is not only antithetical to our university’s mission and values, but also limits the dialogue that is so critical to understanding and common ground.”

Said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement, “This is a violation of academic freedom for American, global and Israeli scholars, an unnecessary injection of politics into the research process itself, and an obstruction to the spirit and substance of academic inquiry.”

The CU Board of Regents also issued a statement, which expressed endorsement and support of the statements from Benson and DiStefano.

“One of the board’s guiding principles is to promote diversity ‘... to ensure the rich interchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth and learning, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual, and philosophical perspectives.’ The boycott runs counter to that ideal, and to the entire notion of why the university exists,” the board’s statement reads.