Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Pitzer College President Vetoes BDS Vote To End Haifa Study Abroad Program

(JTA) – Faculty at California’s Pitzer College voted in favor of suspending its study abroad program in Israel, but the institution’s president said he would ignore their motion.

Thursday’s non-binding recommendation by faculty at the college governing body was spearheaded by proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, according to the American Jewish Committee, which condemned the vote as an “outrageous attack on academic freedom.”

The recommendation to suspend the study abroad program at Haifa University passed with a majority of 68 in favor and 25 opposing. Another eight voters abstained. Shortly afterwards Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver rejected the motion, stating that, “I am refusing to permit Pitzer College to take a position that I believe will only harm the College.”

The motion calls for suspending the program until “the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech” and until it “adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.”

But Oliver wrote this language does not faithfully represent the scope of the recommendation.

“The recommendation puts in place a form of academic boycott of Israel and, in the process, sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission,” Oliver wrote in a statement.

“By singling out Israel, the recommendation itself is prejudiced,” he added.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.