Thursday, January 9, 2014

Letter to Cal State Northridge University President

My friends at the AMCHA Initiative have sent a letter to Dianne Harrison, President of California State University at Northridge, thanking her for her statement denouncing the idea of an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, but reminding her of that math teacher at CSUN (David Klein) who uses university resources (web server) to spread propaganda about Israel.

Dear President Harrison,

AMCHA Initiative commends you on your statement denouncing the academic boycott of Israeli institutions as undermining academic freedom -- "the very heart of the academic enterprise," and your affirmation of Chancellor White's assertion that "academic boycotts violate the basic tenets of higher education, including academic freedom."
In light of your very clear statement and that of Chancellor White, that academic boycotts undermine academic freedom and are antithetical to the academic mission of the university, we urge you to reexamine Prof. David Klein's CSUN-hosted webpage promoting the academic, cultural, and economic boycott of Israel:

As you are aware, according to California Government Code 8314, state university employees are prohibited from using state university resources for personal purposes, which the law defines as anything which is not "state business".  Given Prof. Klein's promotion of an academic boycott of Israel that "violate[s] the basic tenets of higher education, including academic freedom," we believe Klein is clearly using the CSUN web server for "personal" purposes, in violation of state law. 

Prof. Klein should be immediately instructed to move his personal webpage to his personal web server, instead of misusing state resources to promote a boycott that undermines "the very heart of the academic enterprise."

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative

CC: CSU Board of Trustees 
CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White  
CSU Interim General Counsel Andrew Jones  
Attorney General Kamala Harris 
Deputy Attorney General Stepan Haytayun
Senior Assistant Attorney General Douglas Wood 
California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez 
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson  
California State Senator Alex Padilla (Northridge) 
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education  
California Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee 
U.S. Congressman District 30 Brad Sherman 
California Jewish community leaders 
So to President Harrison, we say thanks for your letter on the ASA boycott issue, but we still have not forgotten that you have a problem that needs to be taken care of at CSUN. David Klein has his right of free speech and can climb onto any soapbox on campus he desires. Using a university web page to spout his opinions about the world is inappropriate, unprofessional and makes it appear that his position has the imprimatur of the university.

1 comment:

Miggie said...

Using the authority of the lectern to promote your views is a cowards way of trying to influence anyone.

The university should not let its name or classrooms for this personal agenda that has nothing to do with his course. What is so hard to understand about such a simple truth?