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Boycott University of Pennsylvania for trampling on First Amendment Rights

This petition had 1,140 supporters

We the undersigned resolve to boycott the University of Pennsylvania in response to their intimidation of students at the Wharton Business School forcing them to withdraw their invitation to Narendra Modi who was scheduled to speak at the Wharton India Forum.

According to the guidelines on open expression at the website of the office of the Provost of UPenn, “The University of Pennsylvania, as a community of scholars, affirms, supports and cherishes the concepts of freedom of thought, inquiry, speech, and lawful assembly.” This is an incorrect representation of reality and in the interest of accuracy this line should read, “The University of Pennsylvania, as a community of scholars, affirms, supports and cherishes the concepts of freedom of thought, inquiry, speech, and lawful assembly except for Hindus.”

UPenn has trampled on the rights of freedom of expression and political association of its students and has effectively blackmailed them into taking an action against their will. We believe that Upenn has done this solely on the basis of the race and religion of the students and the political beliefs of the speaker who had been invited.

The president of UPenn, Amy Gutmann, has behaved in a biased manner by allowing faculty members to pressure students to rescind the invitation to Narendra Modi. The decision to rescind the invitation to Narendra Modi followed a petition by the faculty of UPenn which contained a fabricated claim that Narendra Modi did nothing to quell the Gujarat riots of 2002. This claim is clearly a trumped up charge as can be seen from the youtube video ( showing that Modi went on television on the very first day of the riots and appealed for calm and requested that people obey the law. The Indian Supreme Court has cleared Modi of all allegations related to the riots. Any support for the false allegations calls into question the academic abilities and impartiality of UPenn’s president.

Gutmann’s action is a continuation of the long-standing culture of UPenn where its professors have been intolerant of diverse cultures and diverse views. A few years ago, UPenn was embroiled in a major controversy when it fired its faculty member Francisco Gil-White after he exposed the fact that the father of the Arab Palestinian movement, Hajj Amin al Husseini, was a top leader of Nazi Germany’s plans to annihilate the Jewish people. In the past, UPenn’s faculty members have donated to a group one of whose leaders was involved with the Ku Klux Klan which was an organization known for lynching people who were of different color.

UPenn’s faculty has pointed out that Narendra Modi’s speech at UPenn’s forum would amount to the university’s endorsement of his political beliefs. In the light of the admission that UPenn presents only the views it endorses, it is chilling to note that UPenn’s website has a link to the Klansman’s Manual although this manual is on an external site.

Narendra Modi is the most successful political leader in Indian history and is a target of false attacks solely because he is a Hindu. Modi represents the hopes and aspirations of a billion Indians and has made his state as the engine of growth in the global economy and he has a proven record of maximum good in minimum time for all the people of his state irrespective of their cultural or religious background.

The faculty at UPenn have demonstrated their intolerance of Hindus who are politically active and successful. The professors have callous disregard for the truth and have completely suppressed the fact that 58 Hindu pilgrims including women and children were burnt alive in the firebombing of a train ( which sparked off the rioting in which a further 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims lost their lives. Their charges against Modi are as ridiculous as blaming California Governor Pete Wilson of killing 53 blacks during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

Amy Gutmann’s tolerance of the Hindu-baiters at UPenn becomes all the more shameful as her father was given shelter by Hindus when he fled the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany and went to India as a refugee. It is unfortunate that she allows the demonization of Hindus who were responsible for saving her family from one of the worst crimes in the history of humanity. Her university has indulged in the unethical practice of breaking a promise after the university invited a speaker and obtained sponsorship based on the false advertisement that its keynote speaker would be Narendra Modi.

UPenn seems to have a trust problem as it does not honor its contracts. This is a matter of concern for the business community and we therefore urge businesses and individuals to boycott UPenn in response to its inquisition against Hindus and not hire its faculty members as consultants. We also urge the sponsors and speakers of the Wharton India Economic Forum to pull out, and the members of the larger public to not apply to the university for admission.


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