California universities have responded to a plea to oppose a controversial boycott of Israel.
In response to an AMCHA-coordinated letter from 101 organizations asking colleges and universities to oppose an academic boycott of Israel, all 10 University of California chancellors have become the first to do so.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of AMCHA says instead of signing the statement sent out, the UC chancellors wrote their own statement clearly explaining that the boycott poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of students and faculty.
"And that's exactly the point that we're trying to make with our statement that we're asking university presidents to sign onto," she observes, "but that also the University of California chancellors made with their own statement: this is morally reprehensible. This is wrong."
The reason some chancellors are hesitant to sign the statement condemning the boycott, she says, is because they are afraid of their own faculty.
"Faculty have tenure. University administrators, presidents, do not," she says. "University presidents get pushed out by faculty who are unhappy with the president for one reason or another."
The effort to accumulate support from hundreds of college leaders is to counter a burgeoning number of liberal professors who actively support the academic boycott of Israel, according to AMCHA.