Education
7:31 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Presidents Of Kentucky's Two Largest Universities Oppose Israeli Academic Boycott

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:04 pm

The presidents of Kentucky’s two largest universities have joined opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the American Studies Association.

The ASA National Council recommended its members pass a resolution to boycott Israeli colleges and universities, which they did last month.  The resolution takes an "ethical stance" on Israel’s policies against Palestine.

From the ASA website:

The Council voted for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action. It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.

That’s drawn a sharp response from nearly 200 U.S. college presidents and other education groups, such as the American Association of University Professors.

Many say a boycott prohibits the academic freedom that colleges and universities are supposed to offer.

(For more on the ASA decision, check out this article from Inside Higher Ed.)

Last week, University of Louisville President James Ramsey said any boycott could hinder academic collaboration and prevent positive outcomes, like "cures for diseases."

This week, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto joined Ramsey, saying campuses should be a place for civil discourse and dialog.

“I think the opportunity to foster those discussions on a campus should be something that is precious,” Capilouto told WFPL.

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said last month he would withdraw his school’s ASA membership.

Congressman John Yarmuth and Senator Mitch McConnell say they also oppose the boycott. 

From McConnell's office:

As a long-time supporter of Israel, I applaud Presidents Capilouto and Ramsey for their commitment to academic freedom and their opposition to the boycott of Israel’s higher-education institutions.

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