Statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by the Board of the SDFA

The San Diego Faculty Association (SDFA/AAUP) has no official position in regard to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We recognize that our membership is divided on this issue and that it is beyond the mission and the scope of the Association to articulate an official view. Therefore, the Board will not speak on behalf of its members in relation to this for the foreseeable future.

At the same time, the Board notes that as members of an academic community and as a local chapter of the American Association of University Professors, it is our duty to promote and uphold the values of academic freedom and freedom of inquiry. As the most recent Academic Freedom Statement of the University of California clearly affirms:

“The University of California is committed to upholding and preserving principles of academic freedom. These principles reflect the University’s fundamental mission, which is to discover knowledge and to disseminate it to its students and to society at large. The principles of academic freedom protect freedom of inquiry and research, freedom of teaching, and freedom of expression and publication. These freedoms enable the University to advance knowledge and to transmit it effectively to its students and to the public”.

In a complementary manner, the 1940 AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom states that:

“College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution”.

This means that individual members of the association are free –and, indeed, should be encouraged– to express their views on this and other matters of public interest, just as any other US citizen is free to do. The mission of the SDFA is only to defend a civil environment in which faculty, students, and the public in general can express divergent views without fear of retaliation or coercion.

The SDFA will continue to pay close attention to campus discussion of this and other controversial issues. We will continue to advocate for academic freedom for faculty, students, and others in the UCSD community, especially when we are notified of possible threats to or infringements of that essential academic right.

Board of the SDFA

5 December 2012