Alice Walker Gets New Invite To Speak at University of Michigan

After Being Disinvited by Women's Center, Provost Invites Walker

getty images

By JTA

Published August 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Author Alice Walker will be invited to speak in a public forum on campus, the provost of the University of Michigan said, after being disinvited from a women’s center celebration.

The provost, Martha Pollack, said in a letter to university faculty posted on the university’s Center for the Education of Women’s web page that the center and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies plan to invite Walker to speak on campus.

Walker in a blog post on her website last week said she had been disinvited from speaking at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. The Pulitzer Prize winner maintained that she was asked to step down as speaker at the initiative of donors.

The center said the decision to withdraw the invitation was based solely on the “celebratory nature” they hoped to achieve at the anniversary event.

Walker is a well-known supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel, in particular “a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions,” such as her decision last year to not allow an Israeli publishing house to translate her book “The Color Purple” into Hebrew.

Pollack in the letter reiterated the university’s “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints.”

“At the same time, we respect the right of individual academic units to make decisions about whom they invite to campus, consistent with university principles and values,” she wrote.

Pollack added that the women’s center “apologized for the way the interaction with Ms. Walker was handled and has made clear to me that their decision was not driven by the content of speech.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.