Civil Discourse and Academic Freedom

Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the…

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They Simply Wanted Me to be Silenced

On Tuesday, officials at Brandeis University backed off granting an honorary degree to Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Alian, a staunch women’s advocate and fierce critic of Islam, due to many faculty members’ requests and a large online petition. Here is Ali’s statement in…

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Faculty letter squelches campus voices

The “Open Letter in Defense of Academic Freedom in Palestine/Israel and the United States,” signed by 39 Vassar professors and published March 1st, is a disturbing document, although not in the way intended. To many alumni, it is a jarring…

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When free speech is harassed on college campuses

Three weeks ago, a California professor was ambling across her campus when she saw a teenager holding up a political sign she didn’t like. What happened next reveals a larger problem: the steady assault on free speech at universities. Associate…

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First Amendment Experts Debate Anti-BDS Bill

Can Congress withhold funds from universities that adopt anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) policies?  Two widely respected First Amendment experts disagree.  Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment practitioner, argues that the new Roskam-Lapinski Bill is unconstitutional.  Eugene Volokh, a leading First…

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Middle Eastern Studies Association Mocks Academic Freedom

When the American Studies Association and the professional organizations of other ethnic studies associations moved recently to boycott Israeli academic organizations for various political reasons, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the professional organization of academics studying and teaching about the Middle…

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Academic Boycotters Talk Academic Freedom

Last February, Brooklyn College’s political science department was under attack for co-sponsoring a panel in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. In the heat of the controversy, Brooklyn College President Karen Gould issued a statement defending the political science department.…

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There they go again

Last year, Brooklyn College’s political science department voted to officially affiliate itself with a talk by two advocates of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. In other words, these professors openly endorsed boycotting (among other groups) fellow academics based solely…

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Boycotts, Bias and Politics in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Academic boycotts are, by their very nature, blunt weapons to be used with extreme caution. When implemented, they silence the open exchange of knowledge, and promote the antithesis of academic freedom. Such extreme measures cannot be justified when casually invoked…

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