Letters to the Editor

Syracuse University alumnus questions professor’s sentiments about Professor Watchlist placement

Ironically, Dana Cloud, a vocal and active proponent of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) boycott list, is upset that she herself has landed on a list (“Liberal professor watchlist raises alarm among faculty at SU and its peer institutions,” Dec. 6). Inclusion on the BDS list is determined by national origin. You don’t have to do or say anything to be on it – just being an Israeli citizen maligns a person with de facto discrimination.

It is also ironic that Cloud thanks people for standing behind “faculty who want to do public engagement” when Cloud’s stated mission is to prevent public engagement. Her boycotts subvert the very heart of higher education which includes a commitment to the interchange of ideas.

Given the tactics BDS supporters have used on campuses to physically blockade classrooms, scream down speakers and pressure colleagues, it is beyond ironic that Cloud is in fear of being silenced by being placed on a list. I am grateful for Chancellor Syverud’s recent letter stressing SU’s desire to “ensure all members of our community are protected from physical harm, discrimination and intimidation” and stressing the university’s commitment to respecting differences and listening to diverse viewpoints.

Fortunately, SU is a signatory, along with Cornell, Boston University, Georgetown and scores of other universities and associations, rejecting the academic boycott of Israel. There is ample evidence that their message of inclusion has strong support. A recent study shows American-Israeli academic partnership is flourishing. For example, from 2006-2015 Harvard, Yale, NYU, University of California, MIT, Columbia and others each had over 1200 publications in which one author was Israeli. Here’s to respectful discourse, collegiality and academic freedom!

Lynn C. Koss (M.S. ‘78)


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