Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

UCF President Hitt opposes boycott of Israeli academic institutions


UCF President John Hitt

ORLANDO- University of Central Florida President John Hitt issued a statement today opposing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which has been promoted by some higher-education professional groups.

Hitt joined university and college presidents from across the United States, as well as the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), in opposing an Israeli boycott.

"An academic boycott of Israel is an anathema to the very principle universities hold most precious-the free and open exchange of ideas in a civil environment," Hitt said. "One of the five goals I set for UCF when I arrived nearly 22 years ago was for the university to 'become more inclusive and diverse.' An academic boycott would run counter to our university's DNA." 

Aaron Weil, executive director and CEO of Central Florida Hillel, was thrilled with the announcement, stating, "President Hitt's opposition to the ASA's call for an academic boycott against Israel is principaled, praiseworthy and consistant with the policies that he has enacted at UCF. It represents a deep understanding of the flawed nature of boycott's as well as its unsuitability and inappropriateness in the academic sphere."

Earlier in January, the APLU issued the following statement, which Hitt endorses, in opposition to the idea of a boycott.

"The Executive Committee and president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) strongly oppose the boycott of Israeli academic institutions supported by certain U.S. scholarly organizations.

"The core mission of the academic community is to create and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching and service. Freedom of inquiry and expression are the foundational principles of this vital work, and free exchange of ideas is its lifeblood. This boycott wrongly limits the ability of American and Israeli academic institutions and their faculty members to exchange ideas and collaborate on critical projects that advance humanity, develop new technologies, and improve health and well-being across the globe.

"Members of the academic community certainly have the right to express their views, but the call for a boycott in this case is severely misguided and wrongheaded. We urge others to express their opposition as well."


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