September 13, 2016

Dr. John Ettling
President,
State University of New York, Plattsburgh

Dr. Jake Liszka
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,
State University of New York, Plattsburgh

Professor Andrew Buckser
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
State University of New York, Plattsburgh

 

Dear President Ettling, Provost Liszka, and Dean Buckser:

We write to express our support for Professor Simona Sharoni, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburg. Professor Sharoni is under personal and professional attack for her publicly stated support for the constitutionally protected Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. It is our understanding that the pro-Israel group “Stand With Us” has now made 10 FOIL requests to the University about Professor Sharoni. She has also been subject to threatening e-mails and twitter posts. These efforts at political intimidation are reprehensible. They are attempts to violate both Professor Sharoni’s academic freedom and First Amendment rights. We urge you to provide Professor Sharoni undivided support, and to make your support public. Although Dr. Ettling’s recent general statement of support affirming the college’s commitment to free speech and academic freedom was a step in the right direction, it is incumbent upon the SUNY administration to state its unequivocal support for Professor Sharoni, and its opposition to campaigns of intimidation.

As has been noted by the organization Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights, scholars expressing support for Palestinian human rights are routinely subject to personal and political attacks at American universities. [1] We believe that it is the urgent responsibility of University administrators to stand resolutely behind the rights to free speech and academic freedom for faculty expressing support for Palestinian rights. There is also evidence that Professor Sharoni is under attack for expressing support for female victims of sexual violence. Professor Sharoni must be protected from openly misogynistic attacks on her scholarship and political viewpoints.

We also second the appeal by the Middle East Studies Association, of which Sharoni is a member, for SUNY Plattsburgh to vigorously defend Professor Sharoni’s from a campaign of harassment and intimidation based on political viewpoint.  It is crucial for the success of open inquiry, research and intellectual debate on University campuses that Professor Sharoni and all faculty are free to operate in an environment free of intimidating, bullying and abuse.

We urge you to take immediate public steps to support Professor Sharoni, and to oppose campaigns of intimidation.

Respectfully,

Labor for Palestine

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

AURDIP (Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine)

BRICUP (British Committee for Universities for Palestine)

Free Speech on Israel (UK)

Campus Defense Coalition for Palestine

Member groups :

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)

Jewish Voice for Peace’s Academic Advisory Council

National Lawyers Guild

Open University Project

Palestine Legal

USACBI (United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)