President Catharine Hill has affirmed that Vassar College unequivocally does not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), as many students, faculty and alumnae/i continue to engage in discussion and debate about Israeli-Palestinian issues. The council of the Vassar Student Association, the college’s student government, is considering a resolution submitted by two student groups that calls on the student government and the college to boycott companies according to the principles of the BDS movement.
“Vassar does not support the BDS movement nor the use of college resources for the boycott of any goods or organizations as called for by BDS,” said President Hill. “Student groups that support BDS have every right to exist on campus and express their views, as long as their actions are in accord with Vassar policies.”
Hill definitively stated this position on February 25 to more than 930 Vassar graduates and parents of Vassar students who participated in a webinar on this issue. “The college will not support the use of college resources for the boycott of any goods for political reasons,” Hill said then. [Listen to the audio of the webinar.]
In a related action from January 2014, President Hill and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Chenette announced Vassar’s rejection of the American Studies Association’s call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which is supported by the BDS movement.
“We are opposed to boycotts of scholars and academic institutions anywhere in the world, and we strongly reject the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” Hill and Chenette stated. “Vassar’s commitment to academic freedom not only leads us to reject the call for a boycott, it helps ensure that our faculty and students may pursue their academic interests wherever they may lead, engage in unconstrained discussions, and express their views freely.”
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.