Profs call for debate

by The Charlatan

Dear Charlatan,

As members of Carleton faculty, we wish to express our support for the proposal put forward by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA Carleton). In his Jan. 22-28 Charlatan opinion piece, SAIA representative Ben Saifer called for a public debate with the Carleton administration on the academic institutional boycott of Israel.

We recognize that some faculty among us support the call from Palestinian civil society for an institutional boycott of all Israeli universities, while others oppose such a move. Yet we are all in agreement that debating the issues will be benefi cial to the Carleton community as a whole.

We are concerned about the history of statements condemning the academic boycott from current Carleton president Roseann Runte and former president Samy Mahmoud, as these statements were issued without consulting the Carleton community. We fi nd this especially disconcerting in light of President Runte”s refusal to issue a similar condemnation of the Dec. 28, 2008, aerial bombardment of the Islamic University of Gaza and other educational institutions including the three schools run by the United Nations, despite the request of 56 Carleton professors.

Therefore, and for the sake of institutional transparency and robust academic dialogue, we are in full support of SAIA Carleton”s proposal for a university-sponsored debate on the institutional boycott of Israeli universities. This call, we maintain, is out of concern that Carleton remains a space committed to free expression and dialogue. It also falls in line with the president”s stated belief that universities “must include a respectful context for representing the most diverse points of view.”

We hope to see such debate within this academic year.


Nahla Abdo, Amy Bartholomew, Doris
Buss, Simon Dalby, Aaron Doyle, Peter Gose,
Radha Jhappan, Jared Keil, Lisa Mills, Carlos
Novas, Trevor Purvis, Bill Skidmore, Frances
Slaney, Daiva Stasiulis, Brenda Vellino,
Rosemary Warskett

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