From Nora Hamilton (via Scott Carter) on Academic Freedom: Charges against William Robinson

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Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may know, the University of California, Santa Barbara, has brought charges against one of our colleagues, William Robinson, following complaints by two students in his class and by the Anti-Defamation League regarding an email he sent to his students criticizing Israeli actions in Gaza.  The charges accuse him of being anti-Semitic, in effect equating criticism of Israel and its policies with anti-Semitism,  and of sending students material irrelevant to the course he was teaching on Global Studies.

The Committee for Academic Freedom at Santa Barbara has asked that letters be sent protesting this attack on academic freedom and requesting that the charges against Prof. Robinson be dropped.  Detailed information about the case, as well as an email that can be sent to officials at UC Santa Barbara, can be found on the Committee’s website:  http://sb4af.wordpress.com.

Those wishing to send separate letters should address them to Prof. Joel Michaelsen, Chair, Academic Senate (joel.michaelsen@senate.ucsb.edu) and to Chancellor Henry Yang (henry.yang@chancellor.ucsb.edu).  Copies may be sent to:: ‘mgscharl@math.ucsb.edu‘; ‘gene.lucas@evc.ucsb.edu‘; ‘moliver@ltsc.ucsb.edu‘; ‘mazer@lifesci.ucsb.edu‘; ‘joel@geog.ucsb.edu‘; ‘sarah@isber.ucsb.edu‘; ‘butler@chem.ucsb.edu‘; ‘scott@theaterdance.ucsb.edu‘; ‘hcallus@music.ucsb.edu‘; ‘gaulin@anth.ucsb.edu‘; ‘spieker@gss.ucsb.edu‘; ‘stemmer@mrl.ucsb.edu‘; ‘caselle@lifesci.ucsb.edu‘; ‘goulias@geog.ucsb.edu‘; ‘amar@lawso.ucsb.edu‘; ‘Stephanie.smagala@senate.ucsb.edu‘; ‘ettenberg@psych.ucsb.edu‘; ‘hualee@ece.ucsb.edu‘; ‘mithun@linguistics.ucsb.edu‘; ‘zok@engineering.ucsb.edu‘; ‘cdaf.ucsb@gmail.com‘; ‘wirobins@soc.ucsb.edu

For those wanting to contact Prof. Robinson, his email is wirobins@soc.ucsb.edu.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best,

Nora Hamilton


2 thoughts on “From Nora Hamilton (via Scott Carter) on Academic Freedom: Charges against William Robinson

  1. It is very important that criticism what many of us see with the recent Israeli incursion in Gaza as an atrocity of the highest order not be silenced with slanderous accusations of Anti-Semitism. Such silencing as a general phenomenon indeed has roots in the most violent of Fascist regimes that have thus far existed. Let us debate the merits of the issues – as uncomfortable as they may be – even in the face of perhaps more uncomfortable parallels. Let history judge the relvance.

    Indeed it is my opinion that the merits of said accusation should be addressed as regards what actually happened to the Gazan people with this latest incursion as opposed to the spin that advocates in favor of this latest incursion want to advance.

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  2. Without seeing the email that was sent to the students, it is impossible to judge whether it was simply an anti-Israeli or was indeed anti-Semitic. Moreover, there is the question of the appropriateness of sending the email. Academic freedom doesn’t give one a license to do anything. Thus, the release of the email is crucial for making a judgment.

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