University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Fogel - Statement to UVM Community on UK Boycott of Israeli Universities and Scholars Aug 21_07

To: University of Vermont Community

From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President

Re: Statement to UVM Community on UK Boycott of Israeli Universities and Scholars

Date: August 21, 2007

I recently joined 286 college and university presidents and chancellors who committed to applying to their campuses a statement by President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University that decries the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and scholars by a labor union that represents some 120,000 college teachers in the United Kingdom. Here is President Bollinger’s statement, into which I have inserted UVM in place of Columbia:

As a citizen, I am profoundly disturbed by the recent vote by Britain's new University and College Union to advance a boycott against Israeli academic institutions. As a university professor and president, I find this idea utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment. In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.

At the University of Vermont I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate – as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their government's policies. Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add UVM to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.

Many thanks to President Bollinger for the eloquence we have borrowed from him to support the cause of academic freedom—of keeping the academy open to unfettered scientific exchange, scholarly communication, and creative expression, and to all members of the UVM community whom I hope join us without reservation in this commitment.

Last modified August 20 2007 07:07 PM

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