In mid-December, the American Studies Association voted to join a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, claiming that the institutions are largely state-controlled and therefore either implicitly or explicitly support alleged crimes against humanity and the Israeli occupation of Arab-inhabited territory. While they do not condone the alleged crimes, nor take an official position on occupation, colleges and universities across the United States and around the world have denounced the boycott. Towson University, which is not a member of the ASA, today officially joined voices with those institutions.
Towson University’s Statement Regarding the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
As an institution of higher education, Towson University is firmly opposed to the proposed boycott presented by the American Studies Association. The proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions is in direct opposition to the standards of academic freedom to which we subscribe.
We do not support the boycott of an academic institution that could impede the flow of knowledge and ideas, which is critical to a healthy intellectual exchange. Any institutional or association censorship should not be tolerated as it is disruptive to both teaching and research.
At Towson, we have learned that controversy and unpopular opinions often shed light on the academic principles we teach and create a powerful dialogue that adds to the educational discourse of our institution. These discussions are capable of coalescing the campus community and provide an opportunity for real and significant change to occur.
While Towson University is not an institutional member of the American Studies Association, we are strongly committed to defending academic freedom, not only on our campus, but at all institutions across the country. We will continue to oppose any efforts that do not support the tenets of these freedoms or are in conflict with our institution’s core academic values and those of American higher education.
Maravene Loeschke, President
Timothy Chandler, Provost