Support the president of Pitzer College

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Recently Prof. Melvin Oliver, president of Pitzer College, made the decision to veto a College Council’s decision to boycott a student exchange program with Haifa University in Israel. While that is a victory for academic freedom, the fight is not yet over. President Oliver still needs to see our support of his decision.

In his statement following his decision he made it clear that it is not in the university’s interest to take a political position. The students’ wellbeing and academic freedom is his priority. Here is an excerpt from his statement:

“It is the College’s job, through its educational process, to help its students determine their own positions and understand what actions each can then take to effect the change they seek. […] The recommendation [the College Council’s decision] curtails the academic freedom of those students who wish to study at the University of Haifa. Among Pitzer’s core values is the promotion of intercultural understanding, much of that achieved through our vibrant study abroad program that enables our students to reach their own conclusions about some of the world’s most vexing challenges through on-the-ground, face-to-face, people-to-people experience. The recommendation runs directly counter to Pitzer’s core value of intercultural understanding. […] The College’s mission is first and foremost to educate our students. Social responsibility is a core value of the College and we hope social justice becomes the life’s mission of many of our graduates and a guiding principle for all our students and alumni. But social justice is not, and in itself cannot be, the mission of the College, or our mission would become political and not educational.”

It should be in the interest of all students to encourage academic freedom and open dialogue.

Please sign our petition to show your support for President Oliver’s decision to prioritize academic freedom over political positions.