The Middle East Studies Association is charging that San Jose State University has failed to stand up for a professor under political attack. The association on Thursday released a letter it sent to Mohammad Qayoumi, the university's president, asking why he had not spoken up to defend Persis Karim of the university's English and comparative literature department. Karim organized a seminar in April, financed in part by the U.S. Institute of Peace, called "Peacebuilding, Nonviolence, and Approaches to Teaching the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." Some pro-Israel groups have criticized the seminar (and did so before it took place), saying it was anti-Israel.
The letter from the Middle East Studies Association said: "It is our understanding that even before the workshop took place, Professor Karim was subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation by individuals and organizations, mostly based outside San José State, who objected to the workshop's content and participants. This campaign has continued even after the workshop, most recently by means of the circulation of a fabricated statement falsely attributed to Professor Karim and intended to damage her reputation, but also in the form of a request under the California Public Records Act that Professor Karim make available all documents and correspondence related to the workshop and its funding." The letter went on to say: "We urge you to issue a strong and clear public statement expressing the university’s support for academic freedom in general and that of Professor Karim in particular, and its firm condemnation of the smear campaign being waged against her."
A spokeswoman for the university said that San Jose State could not respond to the letter on Thursday.
- MESA's Committee on Academic Freedom has rejected boycotts, while condemning abuses in Israel and beyond
- California State debates whether to resume study abroad in Israel
- On Israel, Shifted Ground
- New statement seeks to reframe academic debate about Israel boycott
- Quick Takes: Stanford Seeks $4.3 Billion, William and Mary Will Remove Feathers From Logo, California Law on Undocumented Students Upheld, A President Apologizes After DUI Arrest, Fighting the Boycott
- New Presidents or Provosts: Bowling Green State U., Concordia College (Minn.), Illinois Wesleyan U., Ivy Tech CC-North Central, Rockhurst U., San JosÃ© State U., South Mountain College, U. of South Florida-Polytechnic
- Public universities don't have to comply with California minimum wage laws, but some are and some aren't
- 'American Counterinsurgency'
Search for Jobs