California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Letter to Israeli President Netanyahu re Professor Widad Barghouti’s Administrative Detention Without Cause or Recourse to Due Process (originally published in Mondoweiss)

  CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM

image.jpgimage-2.jpghttps://cascholars4academicfreedom.wordpress.com 

September 13, 2019

To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Justic Ayalet Shaked, and Minister of Higher Education Fafi Peretz:

We, the California Scholars for Academic Freedom*, a group of over 200 academics working in higher education in California, write to condemn in the strongest terms the brutal invasion of the home of Professor Widad Barghouti and her subsequent detention without cause on September 1, 2019.  Professor Barghouti, who teaches communications and media at Birzeit University, has been put under administrative detention subject to interrogations without cause and without recourse to due process.  

Administrative detention, which can be imposed without charges and be indefinitely and arbitrarily extended, is a form of legal violence imposed by the Israeli State on Palestinian society and, in this instance, on a respected educator as well as members of her family. Palestinian faculty and students alike have a right to education, a right that is systematically undermined by harassment and administrative detention. 

We call for the immediate release of Professor Widad Barghouti. We call for an end to the unjust practices of harassment and administrative detention that are aimed at denying Palestinians their right to education. Educators and intellectuals should be free to express their views and pursue their profession without obstruction or harassment. We call for an end to this continued suppression of Palestinian society.

California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Contact Persons

Professor Judith Butler,

Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature,

Department of Comparative Literature

University of California, Berkeley USA

jpbutler@berkeley.edu

Professor Emeritus Lisa Rofel,

Department of Anthropology

University of California, Santa Cruz  USA

Co-coordinator, California Scholars for Academic Freedom

LROFEL@ucsc.edu

Professor Claudio Fogu

Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian

University of California, Santa Barbara USA

claudiofogu@ucsb.edu
Professor Vida Samiian

Professor and Dean Emerita

California State University, Fresno  USA

vidas@mail.fresnostate.edu

* California Scholars for Academic Freedom is a group of scholars committed to academic freedom and rights to education of faculty and students not only in California and the United States but internationally as well. We recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere. California Scholars for Academic Freedom investigates legislative and administrative infringements on freedom of speech and assembly, and it raises the consciousness of politicians, university regents and administrators, faculty, students and the public at large through open letters, press releases, petitions, statements, and articles.​​

Cc: 

Birzeit University President Abdullatif Abuhijleh

Birzeit University Union of Teachers and Employees (snawad@birzeit.edu)

Birzeit University Department of Media (Chair.MediaD@birzeit.edu)

Advertisements

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu about Israeli Policies Concerning International Scholars in the Occupied West Bank

  CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM

image.jpgimage-2.jpg

September 12, 2019

To: Benyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Dear Prime Minister,

A year ago we wrote to the Commander of COGAT on behalf of California Scholars for Academic Freedom (cs4af)* to express our profound concern at the systematic interference by Israeli authorities in Palestinian education, academic freedom, and freedom to travel and to teach, study and research. We are alarmed to note that, according to reports by the reputable Israeli human rights organization, Adalah, the situation for international scholars working on the occupied West Bank have only deteriorated. 

While Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza have had a serious and widely reported negative impact on Palestinian educational institutions in many areas and over many decades, at the present time we are specifically concerned with the impact of Israeli government policy on faculty at Palestinian institutions who hold foreign passports and face unjustifiable denials of work permits in order to carry out their regular teaching and research duties. It seems to us an intolerable contradiction to require work permits and then regularly deny them to faculty from overseas. This policy has resulted in numerous faculty who hold foreign passports, and are of Palestinian and other national origins, being declared “illegal” when they engage in teaching and research at Palestinian universities. This policy threatens both their right to reside in Palestine and their freedom to travel, and is a serious violation of academic freedom, including the right to travel for the purpose of conducting and presenting research. Likewise, it interferes with the capacity of such faculty to participate in and contribute fully in the intellectual and cultural life of their own and other Palestinian institutions.  

International academics seeking to enter or work in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) have long faced obstacles, but the situation has dramatically declined over the past year. Since 2017, foreign nationals wishing to maintain a presence in the oPt, whether for reasons of work or family unity, have faced an alarming escalation in the rejection of visa extension requests and in the frequency and range of arbitrary demands and conditions imposed by Israeli authorities. Palestinian educational institutions have been hard hit by Israeli denials or restrictions on entry and presence in the oPt, as evidenced by the recent survey of Palestinian universities undertaken by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE). Of the eight universities responding, over half of all foreign national faculty and staff have been negatively affected over the past two academic years, causing serious disruption to the academic programs and administration of these institutions. Moreover, it has undermined Palestinian universities’ ability to attract further external expertise as foreign academics are deterred from accepting teaching and research posts by the arbitrary rejections and destructive restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities.

Restrictions of these kinds seriously impede the capacity of Palestinian society to maintain and reproduce its intellectual and artistic culture.  The systematic and regular nature of the obstacles posed by Israel’s occupation and blockade to the normal course of Palestinian education suggest interference is deliberate and purposive.

We believe that academic freedom and the right to education are fundamental and universal, and include not only the right to study, research and publish without censure or interference, but also the right to such social and political conditions as enable the enjoyment of those rights.

We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms Israel’s ongoing interference with Palestinian academic freedom as a violation of human rights and international law. We call on the responsible authorities to cease imposing impossible conditions on our colleagues who seek to work at Palestinian institutions and instead to facilitate their entry and their residence in accord with fundamental principles of academic freedom. In particular, we urge that the responsible Israeli administrations take immediate steps to renew the visas of all international scholars currently affected by these restrictions and that in future, all such restrictions on the academic activities of international scholars and Palestinian faculty and students alike be abolished.

We are also requesting that US representatives (whether diplomats, members of Congress or international organizations) advocate vigorously for the rights of Palestinian scholars and the autonomy of Palestinian universities, urge other scholarly organizations to speak forcefully about the threat to the Palestinian academy, and alert academic institutions throughout the world that Palestinian colleagues need our moral and substantive support on an ongoing basis.

Yours sincerely, 

California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Contacts:

Sondra Hale, Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); email: sonhale@UCLA.edu; phone: 310-836-5121

David Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Riverside; email: dclloyd@ucr.edu; Phone: 951-827-1459

Stephen Roddy, Professor of Modern & Classical Languages, University of San Francisco

CC: 

Minister of Justice Amir Ohana
Fax: +972-2-6467085
Pniyot.Tzibur@justice.gov.il

Minister of the Interior Aryeh Machluf Deri
Fax: +972-2-670-3733

Minister of Education Rafi Peretz
Fax: +972-2-649-6011

**CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM (cs4af) is a group of over 200 scholars who defend academic freedom, the right of shared governance, and the First Amendment rights of faculty and students in the academy and beyond. California Scholars for Academic Freedom investigates legislative and administrative infringements on freedom of speech and assembly, and it raises the consciousness of politicians, university regents and administrators, faculty, students and the public at large through open letters, press releases, petitions, statements, and articles. Our vigilance extends to violations of academic freedom anywhere in the United States and abroad, for we recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letter to Governor Michael J. Dunleavy re. Proposed Budget Cuts to University of Alaska

  CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM

image.jpgimage-2.jpghttps://cascholars4academicfreedom.wordpress.com 

August 26, 2019

Governor Michael J. Dunleavy

Juneau, Alaska

Fax: (907) 465-3532

To Governor Dunleavy,  

 We write to express our concern about your proposed budget cuts to the University of Alaska. These budget cuts target important areas of research, specifically the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks. If enacted, these budget cuts will destroy a crown jewel in your educational system. 

To cut research on climate change undermines the mission of the University of Alaska, which supports open inquiry into essential questions about the complex world in which we live. For all of us, but especially for the many communities in Alaska who have suffered from the environmental crisis (sea level rise, mass die-offs of ocean life, forest fires, melting permafrost, sustained drought), academic research on the effects of global climate change should be sustained and indeed enhanced. 

As California Scholars for Academic Freedom*, a group of over 200 academics, we are committed to academic freedom and first amendment rights of faculty and students in California, the United States and internationally. Academic freedom includes the freedom of professors to conduct and disseminate scholarly research, to design courses and teach students in the areas of their expertise, and to enjoy First Amendment protections for extramural speech. By undermining the mission of the University of Alaska, the budget cuts you propose represent a direct challenge to academic freedom.

Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, wrote recently in Newsweek:

In attempting to dictate how cuts are distributed, the governor is grossly overstepping his role. He’s not meant to serve as a one-man committee determining how the UA system manages its budget. In fact, in Alaska, the state constitution specifically invests in the Board of Regents—not the governor—the power to determine the university’s budget and, through that, its priorities.

Academic freedom also includes shared governance with university faculty. We understand that these budget cuts were offered without even consulting the faculty at the University of Alaska, who play a key role in decisions about research and teaching. They must be included in any decision on the allocation of financial and other resources for research across the university. 

We urge you to restore the University of Alaska to its preeminent position as a standard bearer   of academic freedom. 

On behalf of California Scholars for Academic Freedom,

Professor Rush Rehm,

Theater and Performance Studies, and Classics

Stanford University

Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT)

mrehm@stanford.edu

Lisa Rofel,

Professor Emeritus

Department of Anthropology

University of California, Santa Cruz

LROFEL@ucsc.edu

Sang Hea Kil, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
“Justice” Studies Department
San José State University
Phone: (415) 390-6523
Email: sangheakil@gmail.com

Stephen Roddy

Professor of Modern & Classical Languages, 

University of San Francisco

roddys@usfca.edu

Nancy Gallagher

Professor Emerita

University of California, Santa Barbara

gallagher@ucsb.edu

Dennis Kortheuer

History Dept., Emeritus

California State University, Long Beach​

Dennis.kortheuer@gmail.com

Vida Samiian

Professor Emeritus of Linguistics

California State University, Fresno

vidas@mail.fresnostate.edu

Rabab Abdulhadi

Director and Senior Scholar

Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies

San Francisco State University

Ria55@sfsu.edu

*CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM (cs4af) defends academic freedom, the right of shared governance, and the First Amendment rights of faculty and students in the academy and beyond. We recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere. California Scholars for Academic Freedom investigates legislative and administrative infringements on freedom of speech and assembly, and it raises the consciousness of politicians, university regents and administrators, faculty, students and the public at large through open letters, press releases, petitions, statements, and articles.

cc: James R. Johnsen, President, University of Alaska ua.president@alaska.edu

Hajo Eicken, Director, University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center     uaf-iarc@alaska.edu

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment