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PRESS RELEASE: Pitzer Must Condemn Faculty Attempt to End Study Abroad in Israel

Pitzer Prez Must Condemn Faculty Attempt to End Israel Study Abroad Program, Demand 75 Groups

Pitzer’s College Council is Scheduled to Deliberate and Report Recommendations to the President Later Today


Contact: Nicole Rosen

Santa Cruz, CA, November 29, 2018 – Seventy five civil rights, education, religious and student organizations today called on Pitzer College President Oliver to condemn the recent vote by the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee to end the school’s study abroad program in Haifa.  The news was first reported earlier this week by the Claremont Independent. The Pitzer College Council, a student and faculty governance board, will deliberate on the faculty vote and a student resolution denouncing the faculty later today.

“The Pitzer Faculty’s attempt to implement an academic boycott of Israel that subverts the educational opportunities and academic freedom of their own students and colleagues, is reprehensible.  Pitzer faculty members have abrogated their most basic professional responsibility – to promote the academic welfare of their students,” wrote the organizations in the letter organized by AMCHA Initiative.

“While portrayed as an effort aimed at Israeli universities and scholars, in reality the implementation of an academic boycott will violate the rights of, and directly harm, students and faculty on U.S. campuses,” pointed out the groups in their letter.  “…we call on you to act now by issuing a statement that condemns this Pitzer Faculty action and commits to ensure that no Pitzer student will be impeded from studying about or in Israel.”

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel urges faculty to shut down study abroad programs in Israel; refuse to write letters of recommendation for American students who wish to study in Israel; scuttle American colleagues’ research collaborations with Israeli universities and scholars; and cancel or shutdown American student- and faculty-organized education activities about Israel or featuring Israeli scholars or leaders. Earlier this fall, two University of Michigan faculty refused letters of recommendation to Michigan students applying to Israel study abroad programs.

Pitzer’s College Council will deliberate today about the faculty attempt to end the study abroad program in Israel, as well as a Student Senate resolution that denounces the attempt as one that “eliminate[s] student learning opportunities” in order to promote “a political agenda.” Student Senate Resolution 55-R-04 points out that “only the University of Haifa student abroad program was called into question without the same standards of review being applied to any other study abroad program” and that the faculty vote was “an abuse of power.”

Research conducted last year by AMCHA revealed how faculty who boycott Israel actually increase the likelihood of anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

AMCHA monitors more than 400 college campuses across the U.S. for anti-Semitic activity. It is the only organization that documents incidents in real time on its website for the public.  AMCHA recorded 469 known anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, 639 in 2016, 652 in 2017, and 526 so far in 2018. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.

AMCHA Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.

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