Should UMBC withdraw from the American Studies Association?


Legal Insurrection has the full details on the ASA’s Israeli related boycott:

As detailed in numerous posts over the past weeks, the American Studies Association has passed an academic boycott of Israeli universities.

Although the resolution does not make this distinction, ASA asserts in its explanation that the boycott applies only to the institutions and “not individual scholars, students, or cultural workers who will be able to participate in the ASA conference or give public lectures at campuses, provided they are not expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions, or of the Israeli government.”

The explanation continues that the boycott also applies to “participation in conferences or events officially sponsored by Israeli universities.”

This would mean the boycott applies to programs and projects jointly sponsored by U.S. and Israeli academic institutions, like the Cornell-Technion campus under construction in New York City, the Brandeis-Middlebury Program at Ben Gurion University, dozens of other programs forterms abroad in Israel run by U.S. universities but hosted at Israeli universities, and many otherjoint university programs.

Be sure to read the whole Legal Insurrection post for details on how bad the details of the boycott are.

Here’ what LI reports on some of the reaction against the boycott:

In light of the ASA boycott, which has been rejected by the American Association of University Professors, among others, how can Universities that object to the Israel academic boycott continue to be institutional members of ASA and continue to spend their institutions’ money to support participation in ASA events?  Some of that money is taxpayer provided.

Lawrence Summers, former President of Harvard, has called for such financial support for ASA to be curtailed.  University of Tennessee Law Professor Glenn Reynolds suggests the “response should be withdrawal of funding to attend ASA events. Let legislators and Trustees know.”

The list of universities with institutional membership in the ASA only includes one Maryland school: the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC.) My wife was an American Studies major there back in the day and I’ve worked for UMBC and taken classes there more recently.

You can express your displeasure to the American Studies department at UMBC by contacting the department chair:

Theodore S. Gonzalves, Chair, Associate Professor
Ph.D (Comparative Culture), University of California at Irvine
423 Fine Arts Building

You should let UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski know that you think the school should withdraw funding for attendance at ASA events. His contact information:

Office of President
University of Maryland Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
(410) 455-2274
fax: (410) 455-1210; tty: (410) 455-3233

You can also contact University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan:

Phone: 301.445.1901
Fax: 301.445.1931

Additionally you might want to contact Gov. Martin O’Malley and your local legislators about this issue.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton