Academic Senate

Letter to the Editor

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Message from the ASCSU Chair
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Looking Back: A Perspective from the Past Faculty Trustee
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Op-Ed: Shared Governance
Letter to the Editor
Resolution Summaries

I read Chancellor White’s denunciation of the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions, which collaborate with the Israeli government in occupying Palestinian land and violating Palestinians’ human rights. In his strong defense of Israeli academic institutions, on behalf of the CSU, Chancellor White violated the academic freedom of the faculty, including the CSU faculty, to take a political stand. Moreover, he has refused to take a stand in defense of academic freedom of CSU faculty with Palestinian origin, like myself, who suffer from naked discrimination and a high level of limitation when they do research in their homeland. I felt betrayed by my own Chancellor who is ready to denounce me because of my political views, but does not even mildly criticize the Israeli government’s discriminatory treatment of me and my other Palestinian-American colleagues.

This past November, I traveled to the Palestinian Occupied Territories to work on my documentary film about the Palestinian diaspora. I had to travel via Jordan because, as an American citizen who happens to have a West Bank Palestinian ID, I am not allowed to enter Ben Gurion airport. I was also denied my application for a permit to enter the "Israeli territories," including Jerusalem, to conduct research for my documentary without any justification by the Israeli government. I was advised not to even try to apply again unless I was willing to challenge the Israeli government’s decision through Israeli courts, which of course takes a long time and a lot of money. Is Chancellor White, who so strongly defends the academic freedom of Israeli institutions, willing to defend my academic freedom to conduct my research?

As a member of “California Scholars for Academic Freedom” I endorsed an open letter to Chancellor White opposing his violation of the academic freedom of the members of the American Studies Association, who, through a democratic process, have decided to make a political stand against academic institutions with long history of collaboration with a racist regime. You can read the open letter at http://cascholars4academicfreedom.wordpress.com/letters/.

Thank you,
Ahlam Muhtaseb, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Communication Studies
California State University, San Bernardino