Meloria • Ever Better
Search Tools Main Menu

Office of the President

President’s Statement on Academic Boycotts

December 30, 2013

The University of Rochester fully endorses the recent Association of American Universities (AAU) statement in opposition to the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  Academic freedom is a core value of our University and of the AAU, of which the University of Rochester is a member.

The AAU statement reads in part:  “Academic freedom is the freedom of the university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching and service, without undue constraint.  It is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations.  American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.  Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom.”   

We further agree that academic freedom, among other things, is inconsistent with “restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities.  The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it.” 

The full AAU statement follows:

AAU STATEMENT ON BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS
Following is a statement by the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities on the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions announced by several associations.

The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such a boycott. Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general.

Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint. It is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations. American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.

Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts.