Stop Pitzer from infringing on students' academic freedom

Stop Pitzer from infringing on students' academic freedom

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Students for Academic Freedom started this petition to Pitzer College

As strong supporters of free speech and academic freedom on campus, we are deeply troubled by the recent vote by members of the Pitzer faculty calling for an end to the College’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa. That the faculty motioned to end a major academic partnership without considering any student input is not only a breach of academic freedom, but a blatant disregard for the shared governance system that Pitzer students and faculty have enjoyed for decades.

Shared Governance has come to be a cornerstone of the Pitzer College community. Since the first student-faculty committee launched in 1964, students have been empowered to join the decision-making process for major campus initiatives. To make any large-scale recommendation affecting the student experience without the student voice is an egregious violation of the shared governance model.

In addition to circumventing the student voice, the faculty vote was motivated by the hateful and anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel. Unlike the BDS Movement, Pitzer’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa encourages collaboration and broadening horizons for participants–rather than advancing a political agenda. Students participating in the study abroad program have the opportunity to live and study alongside local students of various faiths, political beliefs and backgrounds and are required to take a language in either Hebrew or Arabic.

Ending this academic opportunity for students violates the College’s own stance that “Pitzer College celebrates cultural diversity and intercultural understanding.” Limiting student participation in any study abroad program makes it more challenging for students to deepen their “appreciation of global diversity" and severely restricts academic freedom for the Pitzer College community.

Pitzer students have swiftly demonstrated their opposition to the deliberate attack on academic freedom by passing a resolution in support of the study abroad program at the University of Haifa.

As alumni, faculty, parents, community members, and supporters of academic freedom at Pitzer, we urge you to issue a statement reaffirming Pitzer College’s support for the study abroad program at the University of Haifa and against any attempt to limit academic freedom and student educational opportunities at Pitzer College.

Please sign our petition to show your support for academic freedom, shared governance and the student voice at Pitzer College.

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