MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues

December 22, 2014

The Modern Language Association is planning at its Delegate Assembly early next month to discuss how to deal with controversial issues, but does not plan to vote either for or against the boycott of Israeli universities. At the January 2014 meeting of the Delegate Assembly, MLA member engaged in intense debate over a resolution that criticized Israel (but did not call for a boycott). The Delegate Assembly approved the measure, but it failed to gather enough voting support when put to the membership to be declared MLA policy.

On Friday, Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the MLA, sent members a letter in which she said that the association had received two resolutions about the Israel boycott -- one in favor and one against. The committee that organizes the Delegate Assembly asked the authors of both resolutions to withdraw them (which they did) and the Delegate Assembly will instead have a broad discussion of "The MLA in the World: How Should the MLA Engage With Controversial Issues?" Subtopics of that discussion will include:

  • Energizing the Delegate Assembly as a Democratic Institution: The Resolution Process
  • Institutional and Individual Boycotts: How Can the MLA Approach This Issue?
  • What Is the Relation of Boycotts to Academic Freedom?
  • How Should the MLA Respond to Problems with Faculty Governance and Retaliation Against Public Speech?


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