Letters and Statements from the Board

ACLS Statement Regarding the Effort to Undermine Academic Freedom in Florida House Bill 999

MESA has endorsed a statement from the ACLS regarding a new bill proposed in the Florida legislature (HB 999), which is a frontal attack on the principles of academic freedom. If it passes, it would effectively end academic freedom in the state’s public colleges and universities, with dire consequences for their teaching, research, and financial well-being.

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MESA Board Statement in support of protests in Iran

The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America condemns the ongoing and intensified Iranian government repression of protests. Pursuant to our commitment to promoting high standards of scholarship and teaching as well as defending academic freedom and the right to education, the Board declares its support of Iranian students, teachers, and scholars who have been risking (and giving) their lives to peacefully protest their government’s policies. We express our solidarity with our Iranian colleagues in Iran and the world over.

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Joint Statement from the Association for Iranian Studies and MESA in support of protests at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran

MESA and the Association for Iranian Studies have issued a joint statement in support of the peaceful protests by students and professors at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. We express our grave concern over the violations of the academic rights of university students and professors. We condemn in the strongest terms the systematic assaults on university campuses and communities. We call for a full and transparent investigation of these crimes, and information regarding the fates of those killed, injured, missing, and detained.

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Statement in solidarity with the Iranian academics’ petition in response to the unfolding events in Iran

MESA has endorsed a statement by the Association for Iranian Studies and its Committee on Academic Freedom expressing solidarity with the Iranian academics who have signed a petition in response to the unfolding events in Iran. The petition stresses the right of Iranian women to freely choose their own dress code; calls for abolishing the morality police; and supports the protection of citizenship rights for all Iranians.

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Statement on Discriminatory Treatment meted out to Africans, including Scholars and Students, fleeing the war in Ukraine

MESA has endorsed a statement from the African Studies Association condemning the discriminatory treatment of Africans fleeing Ukraine as a violation of international law. MESA joins the ASA and others in calling on Ukrainian and authorities in neighboring countries to treat all those fleeing the conflict equally, with dignity, and without discrimination based on race or status.

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Joint letter from MESA and BRISMES regarding proposed University of Cambridge Deal with the UAE

On 18 August 2021, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom and the Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) sent a joint letter to Professor Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, to express our concern about the proposed academic deal between the University of Cambridge and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to urge the University of Cambridge to reconsider the proposal.

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Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism in American History

MESA has endorsed a letter by the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America stating “firm opposition” to legislation, introduced in at least 20 states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions.

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MESA Board Statement in Support of Palestinians

MESA’s Board of Directors condemns the ongoing Israeli government assault on the Palestinian people. It views the damaging and targeting of educational facilities and violence toward students and teachers as part of a systematic domination of Palestinians. We recognize there can be no academic freedom and adequate access to education, so long as there is apartheid.

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MESA Board Statement regarding the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism (and “Contemporary Examples”)

MESA expresses its grave concern about a number of the “Contemporary Examples of Antisemitism” that accompany the working definition of antisemitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). MESA therefore encourages the federal, state, provincial, and local governments of the United States and Canada, as well as university and college administrations, to refrain from adopting or making policy based on IHRA's accompanying examples.

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MESA Board Statement in Solidarity with Protests at Boğaziçi University

The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America condemns the ongoing and intensified government assault on higher education in Turkey. As a scholarly association, MESA declares its solidarity with student and faculty protestors of the recent developments at Boğaziçi University. We join our voices to the demands raised by faculty and students: academic freedom, freedom of expression, and academic and democratic norms must be respected; and the autonomy of higher education in Turkey must be protected.

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Statement Condemning Report of Advisory 1776 Commission

MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Historical Association condemning the report of the President's Advisory 1776 Commission, which attacks American institutions of higher education without evidence or cause. The 1776 Report omits or criticizes half a century of historical scholarship in favor of extolling a simplistic and tendentious interpretation of our past.

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