Sullivan Signs APLU Statement Opposing Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

January 02, 2014

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has joined other academic organizations and universities in opposition of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan, who is secretary of the APLU Council of Presidents, is among the signatories of today’s statement, issued by the organization’s executive committee and its president.

The statement reads:

“The Executive Committee and President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) strongly oppose the boycott of Israeli academic institutions supported by certain U.S. scholarly organizations. 

“The core mission of the academic community is to create and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching and service. Freedom of inquiry and expression are the foundational principles of this vital work, and free exchange of ideas is its lifeblood. This boycott wrongly limits the ability of American and Israeli academic institutions and their faculty members to exchange ideas and collaborate on critical projects that advance humanity, develop new technologies, and improve health and well-being across the globe. 

“Members of the academic community certainly have the right to express their views, but the call for a boycott in this case is severely misguided and wrongheaded. We urge others to express their opposition as well.”

Those signing the APLU statement in addition to Sullivan are: Randy Woodson, chancellor of North Carolina State University and chair of the APLU board of directors; Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa and immediate past chair of the APLU board; Jim Clements, president of Clemson University and chair-elect of the APLU board; Bernadette Gray-Little, chancellor of the University of Kansas and chair of the APLU Council of Presidents; and Peter McPherson, president of the APLU.

The membership of the American Studies Association voted to approve an academic boycott of Israeli institutions in December, citing in part what the organization says is lack of academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars. The boycott vote sparked a vigorous debate in higher education, with many, including the APLU, asserting that the boycott itself impinges on academic freedom.

U.Va. is not an institutional member of the American Studies Association, but is a member of the Association of American Universities, which also has gone on record in opposition of the boycott.

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