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Statement on Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement

March 15, 2018

In alignment with the American Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and many other distinguished higher education institutions, the University of Illinois System leadership stands in strong opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement’s call for a boycott of Israel.

While we acknowledge and affirm the rights of faculty and students to express their own viewpoints, we believe that actions such as those espoused by BDS would damage academic freedom and may have an intended or unintended anti-Semitic effect which we utterly condemn.

We will continue to strenuously oppose actions that go beyond protected speech and that seek to harass, delegitimize, alienate and spread fear within our student communities on the basis of religion – whether our Jewish and Muslim student bodies or any other religious student community.

To reiterate: we will NOT tolerate pervasive harassment or discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation or any other personal factors or characteristics. Such activities are inimical to the values that our system embraces.

Across the U of I System, we pride ourselves on being a community that seeks to develop and deploy knowledge to better the human condition through our world-class research, scholarship and service. We do this through our commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as our active and growing engagement with academic partners around the world. Such efforts can only be diminished by targeted restrictions on academic freedom and global engagement.

Our commitment to social justice and to excellence in free, open and engaged scholarship drives us to study, understand and help build solutions for even the most complex challenges we face globally and domestically. To that end, we welcome and embrace ALL of our students.

Tim Killeen