ADVOCACY GROUPS TO UC: ARE PROFS COVERED BY ANTI-INDOCTRINATION RULES?
45 UC faculty have pledged their support for UAW 2865’s call for BDS… “We are concerned”
Contact: Nicole Rosen
Santa Cruz, CA, December 8, 2014 – Following last week’s UAW 2865 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) vote, 22 education, civil rights and Jewish advocacy groups want to know whether University of California (UC) policies that prohibit UAW 2865 graduate student instructors from promoting BDS and anti-Israel, and often anti-Semitic, propaganda in the classroom also apply to UC faculty. UAW 2865 is the union representing 13,000 UC graduate instructors on nine campuses.
“In light of this vote, we are especially grateful for your having sent to all the UC Chancellors a memorandum enumerating the university policies which prohibit graduate student instructors from using university classrooms to promote anti-Israel propaganda or an anti-Semitic boycott of the Jewish state…,” wrote the groups to the UC Board of Regents. “The clear application of the Regents Policy on Course Content to UC graduate students raises the question about its potential application to UC faculty.”
Twelve of these groups wrote to UC President Janet Napolitano in August after UAW 2865 announced its intent to call for a vote in support of BDS and urge its graduate student members to pledge their personal participation in the academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars.
UC Provost Aimee Dorr, on behalf of Napolitano, affirmed for the groups that the University’s Policy on Course Content and other UC policies prohibit academic student employees (ASEs) from engaging in such actions. She also wrote to all Chancellors notifying them of the UC policies which prohibit ASEs from using their instructional positions to promote political propaganda or advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel.
More than 40 UC faculty members signed a statement of support for the UAW’s call for BDS saying, “As faculty, it is now our turn to support our student-workers, teaching assistants, and advisees as they take this bold and courageous step.” In addition, more than 200 UC faculty, including several department chairs and program directors have endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
“Although we recognize that faculty have every right as private citizens to support student BDS initiatives and to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, we are concerned that these same faculty may try to bring their enmity towards the Jewish state and the promotion of efforts to harm it into their university classrooms and conference halls,” wrote the groups. “Unfortunately, those faculty who misuse the university in this way contribute to the creation of a hostile and threatening environment for many Jewish students, who report feeling harassed and intimidated by their professors and isolated from their peers.”
The following 22 groups signed the letter:
Accuracy in Academia
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
CUFI on Campus
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America
AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization, based in California, dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America. AMCHA Initiative’s efforts are bolstered by a network of more than 5,000 members and supporters of the Jewish community — including university alumni, parents and grandparents, rabbis, religious school principals and synagogue members — who have joined together to speak in one voice to ensure the safety and well-being of Jewish students on college and university campuses across the country.