Research News

Statement from Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos on boycott of Israeli universities by American Studies Association

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University stands with its Association of American Universities colleagues in opposing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as proposed by the American Studies Association. There are few principles more central to our mission as a university than an unwavering commitment to academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas across the globe. We believe this boycott, by its very nature, is incompatible with this principle. Vanderbilt faculty can and have taken their own positions on this issue, which is their right and indeed their responsibility as scholars, just as it is our duty to protect their freedom to do so. As a university, we promote spirited and intense debate on the most intractable problems facing our society, with the belief that this coming together of often opposing viewpoints leads to better understanding and progress. We believe that shutting out an entire nation’s universities and academic organizations only stands to prolong and perpetuate the problems the framers of the boycott wish to address.