The faculty of New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA) voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to officially end its relationship with its Tel Aviv campus.
One faculty member voted against the resolution of non-cooperation.
While the move will not prohibit faculty members and students from doing research on the campus in Israel, the SCA will not officially sponsor any faculty exchanges or student study-abroad program there.
NYU Professor Andrew Ross, who serves on the board of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, told Newsweek that the resolution is less about taking a position against Israel and more about the university being “bound by these ethical [principles] of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity and if some of our students and faculty can’t access a program, then that’s a real problem.”
Michael Low, a student at NYU and the vice president of Realize Israel, told Newsweek that the course of action was “essentially yet another boycott of NYU’s already marginalized Jewish community.”
“If you are a champion of peace, start demonstrating your ability to create peace locally by treating all students with respect, even if they do not share your views,” he said.
Pro-Israel organizations, including Alums for Campus Fairness and Club Z, denounced the faculty decision.
“Universities should be pillars of truth, academic freedom and open discourse,” Alums for Campus Fairness executive director Avi Gordon told JNS. “It’s our goal in this situation to hold the University administration accountable for these important values. Alums for Campus Fairness’ NYU Chapter, consisting of over 400 alumni, hope that President [Andrew] Hamilton will come out unequivocally condemning this dangerous and one-sided action.”
Hamilton has said the boycott Israel initiative is “contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas and at odds with the university’s position.”
“This resolution is nothing more but virtue-signaling; it helped not one single person, it solved not one single issue,” Club Z executive director Masha Merkulova told JNS. “It made Mr. Andrew Ross feel self-righteous, without doing anything to actually deserve it.”
“Let us not be fooled, this resolution of non-cooperation is equal to the calling for boycott of the Jewish state and should be treated as such by the university,” she continued. “And it is time for Jewish parents to vote with their dollars and to take NYU off the list of consideration for their kids to attend. There are plenty of other great schools who aren’t endorsing anti-Semitism at every turn.”
The SCA move is the latest in what has been an academic year full of anti-Israel activity on campus.
The university gave its President’s Service Award to its Students for Justice in Palestine chapter in April, despite the group’s affiliation with the BDS movement and its anti-Israel activity. Hamilton skipped the ceremony.
Last December, the SJP affiliate at NYU was instrumental in passing a resolution calling for divestment in companies that do business with the Israeli military.