Seventy-five civil rights, education, religious and student organizations on Thursday called on Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver to condemn the recent vote by the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee to end the school’s study abroad program in Haifa.
Organized by the AMCHA Initiative, the groups’ letter to Oliver read: “The Pitzer Faculty’s attempt to implement an academic boycott of Israel that subverts the educational opportunities and academic freedom of their own students and colleagues, is reprehensible. Pitzer faculty members have abrogated their most basic professional responsibility – to promote the academic welfare of their students.”
“While portrayed as an effort aimed at Israeli universities and scholars, in reality the implementation of an academic boycott will violate the rights of, and directly harm, students and faculty on US campuses,” the groups pointed out, adding that they “call on you to act now by issuing a statement that condemns this Pitzer Faculty action and commits to ensure that no Pitzer student will be impeded from studying about or in Israel.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel urges faculty to shut down study abroad programs in Israel; refuse to write letters of recommendation for American students who wish to study in Israel; scuttle American colleagues’ research collaborations with Israeli universities and scholars; and cancel or shutdown American student- and faculty-organized education activities about Israel, or featuring Israeli scholars or leaders.
Earlier this fall, two University of Michigan faculty refused to issue letters of recommendation to Michigan students applying to Israel study abroad programs.
Pitzer’s College Student Senate Resolution 55-R-04 pointed out that “only the University of Haifa student abroad program was called into question without the same standards of review being applied to any other study abroad program” and that the faculty vote was “an abuse of power.”
Research conducted last year by AMCHA revealed how faculty who boycott Israel actually increase the likelihood of anti-Semitic incidents on campus.
AMCHA monitors more than 400 college campuses across the U.S. for anti-Semitic activity. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.