College President Vetoes Suspension Of Israeli Study Abroad Program

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Mike Brest Reporter
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The president of Pitzer College vetoed a resolution to suspend the college’s study abroad program at University of Haifa in Israel on Thursday night after the College Council overwhelming voted in favor of it.

Pitzer President Melvin Oliver announced he would veto the suspension hours after the council’s 67-28 vote.

“I fully respect the actions of the College Council, thus I do not make this decision lightly,” Oliver said in a press release.

“By singling out Israel, the recommendation itself is prejudiced. We do not solve one injustice by committing another. If implemented, the recommendation would unnecessarily alienate a large cross section of the College’s constituencies,” he continued. “The reputational harm to the College would be irreparable and as president of this institution, I cannot permit that to happen.”

A Pro-Palestinian “Gaza Beach” protestor holds a placard reading “BDS (Boycotts, divestment and sanctions) during a gathering on the sidelines of “Tel Aviv Sur Seine”, a beach event celebrating Tel Aviv, in central Paris on August 13, 2015.(KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Oliver highlighted one of the main complaints with boycotting Israel, and of the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement, which is that it singles out one country for not living up to a certain set of standards.

Daniel Segal, a professor at Pitzer College, introduced the initial motion to end the program back in November and is one of the most ardent supporters to end it. (RELATED: University of Michigan Denounces Professor That Allegedly Refused To Write Letter Of Recommendation For Israel Program)

“This shows a failure to appreciate that Palestinians are our fellow human beings, and a contempt for the college’s democratic process,” Segal said, according to The Student Life, a student run newspaper. “Because of the divisiveness of the president’s actions and his betrayal of the college’s core values, the president is doing grievous damage to the college I love and have served for 32 years.”

Earlier this week, Segal tweeted a photo of Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib posing with a #SuspendPitzerHaifa pamphlet.

“We regret today’s vote by the Pitzer College Council to uphold the Pitzer faculty’s misguided plan to boycott the college’s relationship with University of Haifa,” University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin said in a statement to The Daily Caller. “While such proponents of the BDS movement in the academic community utilize a free speech argument to justify boycotts of Israeli institutions, those who support these votes at Pitzer are actually undermining academic freedom and free speech by depriving students of their freedom to choose where to study abroad.”

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