Statement on the Department of Social and Cultural and NYU Tel Aviv

Dear President Hamilton,
The Executive Committee of NYU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors supports the autonomy of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA) in choosing not to cooperate with the study abroad program at NYU’s Tel Aviv site (NYU-TA). 
We strongly support the right of individual departments and schools to determine their own affairs and how they deploy their resources vis-a-vis the University’s global academic network. The SCA stance on NYU-TA is similar to the Department of Journalism’s 2018 resolution to withdraw its participation at NYU-Abu Dhabi, and akin to the decision by several units throughout the university, including the departments of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Cinema Studies, Social and Cultural Analysis, and the Gallatin School, to discourage faculty participation at NYU-Abu Dhabi. While these departments “called for faculty to consider refraining from participation in NYU Dhabi,” History pledged to “respect those faculty members who wish to register their concern by refraining from participating in academic initiatives at NYU Abu Dhabi.” In contrast with the recent statement of the NYU administration “deploring” the SCA decision, these NYUAD resolutions did not generate any such public criticism from the Public Affairs office.

The national AAUP opposes academic boycotts. However, its Statement on Academic Boycotts specifically recognizes the “right of individual faculty members or groups of academics not to cooperate with individual faculty members or academic institutions with whom or with which they disagree.” We find the mischaracterization by the University spokesperson of the SCA resolution as a call for an academic boycott to be inflammatory and dangerous to faculty members at NYU.

We still await a response regarding the real issue referenced in the letters we sent to your office in the Fall and by the SCA resolution—the apparent violations of the university’s Policy on Ethical Conduct. In the meantime, we will support the right of faculty and instructors to choose noncooperation with programs in whatever form they believe to be ethically justified.

Marie Monaco, president, NYU-AAUP

Jim Uleman, vice-president, NYU-AAUP

Molly Nolan, secretary, NYU-AAUP

Anna McCarthy, treasurer, NYU-AAUP

Paula Chakravartty, at-large executive member, NYU-AAUP

Rebecca Karl, at-large executive member, NYU-AAUP

Vincent Renzi, at-large executive member, NYU-AAUP

Andrew Ross, immediate past president, NYU-AAUP