More than 100 Orgs Commend Pitzer Pres. Oliver for Preserving Academic Freedom and Protecting Students' Rights
Oliver Rejected the College Council’s Attempt to Shut Down Pitzer’s Study Abroad Program in Israel
Contact: Nicole Rosen
Santa Cruz, CA, March 20, 2019 – In response to President Melvin L. Oliver’s statement that he will not bow to a movement on his campus to put politics before the academic welfare of students, a diverse group of civil rights, religious, education, faculty and student groups spanning the political left, right and center sent the following letter to Oliver today:
Dear President Oliver,
Our organizations heartily applaud you for your courageous leadership in vetoing the College Council’s vote to shut down Pitzer’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa. Your staunch defense of the academic freedom and educational opportunities of Pitzer students and faculty in the face of an academic boycott of Israel is exemplary. We hope that your outstanding statement affirming Pitzer's commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and the fostering of intercultural understanding and acknowledging that academic BDS undermines that commitment will serve as a model for university presidents across the country.
Thank you again for your strong moral leadership,
The letter was organized by AMCHA Initiative and signed by 103 groups, including B’nai B’rith International, Academic Engagement Network, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Alums for Campus Fairness, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Iranian American Jewish Federation, National Council of Young Israel, Russian Jewish Community Foundation, WoMen Fight Antisemitism, American Zionist Movement and World Jewish Congress American Section.
Following attempts by faculty at the University of Michigan and Pitzer College to implement academic BDS, AMCHA launched an anti-academic boycott campaign. The organization has been leading a diverse and bi-partisan coalition of more than 100 groups and a grassroots effort that calls on university presidents to recognize and condemn an academic boycott that violates the academic freedom and educational opportunities of U.S. students. Since AMCHA launched its campaign, the 10 chancellors of the University of California put out a strong statement to all UC faculty and the entire UC community condemning the academic boycott and recognizing the “direct and serious threat” it poses to UC students and faculty.
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 468 known anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, 643 in 2016, 657 in 2017, 694 in 2018, and 83 so far in 2019. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.
AMCHA’s research has shown that schools with faculty who support an academic boycott of Israel are five times more likely to have acts of anti-Jewish aggression, including assault, harassment and vandalism.
AMCHA Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.