A message from President M. Roy Wilson
With regard to the American Studies Association’s call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, Wayne State University strongly supports the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech, which are fundamental to our missions of education and research. We thus support the position of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education organizations as well as numerous colleges and universities nationwide in denouncing the boycott. While we understand that the stated “goal of the academic boycott is to contribute to the larger movement for social justice in Israel/Palestine that seeks to expand, not further restrict, the rights to education and free inquiry,” it is our view that academic boycotts are not appropriate means to achieving such desired ends or to resolving deep and complex human issues plaguing the Middle East. For the sake of all people involved, many of whom face ongoing hardship or have suffered great loss, the complex and long-standing conflicts in the Middle East need to be addressed. But this boycott, we fear, may have the opposite effect. By their very nature, academic institutions are places where difficult issues are raised, discussed, debated, and hopefully resolved. We value our relationships with universities throughout the Middle East, including in Israel. These universities all contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and we believe they deserve the respect and support of the international academic community, as we would wish to be respected and supported in turn.
M. Roy Wilson