(JTA) — Fifty-eight organizations called on the University of Michigan to sanction professors who implement academic boycotts of Israel.
The letter, sent Friday to university president Mark Schlissel, was signed by Jewish, Israel advocacy and political organizations and organized by the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to combat campus anti-Semitism.
It referred to an incident last week, in which a professor at the school, John Cheney-Lippold, refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wanted to study abroad at Tel AViv University, citing his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the country.
“I have extraordinary political and ethical conflict lending my name to helping that student go to that place,” Cheney-Lippold has told reporters.
On Tuesday, the university said in a statement that it opposes academic boycotts of Israel and that “[i]njecting personal politics into a decision regarding support for our students is counter to our values and expectations as an institution.”
On Thursday, in a separate statement, Schlissel said that “[w]e will be taking appropriate steps to address this issue and the broader questions it has raised.”
The signatories of Friday’s letter — which included groups such as the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Christians and Jews United for Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America — strongly criticized Cheney-Lippold’s decision and called on Schlissel to make a statement that such behavior would not be allowed.
Petition Demands Punishment For Prof Who Wouldn’t Write Recommendation For Israel Gig