[Marxism] “Academic Freedom” at American Universities: The ASA Boycott and Bard College | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 5 10:52:32 MST 2014

“Academic Freedom” at American Universities: The ASA Boycott and Bard 

By Amith Gupta

(Amith Gupta graduated from Bard College in 2012, and currently works as 
the Communications Officer for the Tadamon Council in Egypt.)

This is the second piece about the American Studies Association’s 
academic boycott of Israeli institutions which I have had the 
displeasure of writing. My previous piece, submitted as a rebuttal to 
American Interest in response to a Bard College professor’s fairly 
slipshod commentary about the boycott, has not yet been published 
anywhere officially. You can find a copy of it here.

I feel compelled to write this second piece based on my experiences at 
Bard College, which I believe to be a fairly typical small liberal arts 
college. I found out earlier today that Bard College President Leon 
Botstein, closing ranks with other college presidents, has condemned the 
ASA boycott of Israeli institutions.

When I arrived as a student at Bard College in the fall of 2009, I had 
just finished a nearly month-long visit to occupied Palestine as an 
International Solidarity Movement volunteer. I remembered quite vividly 
that the ISM organizers in Palestine did not consider visiting Palestine 
briefly to be a successful form of solidarity activism. Hisham Jamjoum, 
the ISM trainer in Ramallah, commented, “this is only 20% of the work. 
80% is when you go back to your home countries.” I interpreted this as a 
call to found an ISM chapter at Bard College, both to do Palestine 
solidarity-oriented student activism and as a means of training any 
locals who had any intention of going to Palestine to participate in 
non-violent activism.


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