Academic Boycott Event at UC Davis
Incident: Four UCD academic units — ME/SA, Asian American Studies, Native American Studies, and Asian American Cultural Politics Research Cluster — co-sponsored an event with Students for Justice in Palestine featuring Omar Barghouti entitled “Revisiting the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Despite Barghouti being neither a university professor nor an academic, his status as founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has garnered him support from many on UCD’s faculty who also support the academic boycott of Israel.
AMCHA’s Response: We have alerted Chancellor Katehi of this event and the questionable rationale for hosting Barghouti. We highlighted the fact that the event was not a legitimate expression of academic freedom, based on recent public statements from UC President Janet Napolitano in response to the ASA’s boycott, and we voiced a concern over partisan motivations for the event.
AMCHA’s Correspondence with UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
AMCHA responded to Chancellor Katehi’s letter defending the departmental sponsorship of an event promoting the boycott of Israel, explaining why the sponsorship was not a legitimate exercise of academic freedom, and in fact violated university policy and state law.
Chancellor Katehi responded to AMCHA’s letter, saying that the departmental sponsorship of an event to boycott Israel was a legitimate exercise of academic freedom.
AMCHA wrote Chancellor Katehi, notifying her of the pro-boycott speaker, the endorsement of this event by UC Davis departments, the concentration of pro-boycott faculty in support of the event, the public proclamation of such support by said faculty, and raising concerns of partisan political agendas playing a crucial role. Recent public statements on academic boycott from UC leaders, as well as code violations were cited.