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.
MESA pledges to oppose anti-Black racist violence by addressing the structural injustice at work in our own organization, in the field of Middle East studies, and among communities in the region. Guided by the principles articulated here, we commit to eradicating anti-Blackness in our organization and in the knowledge we produce.
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.
MESA joins a letter amongst 61 NGOs to call on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to quash Ahmed Samir Santawy’s verdict.
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.
MESA's Board of Directors calls on university administrators in Florida to support their faculty and speak out against the threat that a new bill poses to academic freedom and free speech rights of both faculty and students, as well as to proper governance and independence of Florida’s colleges and universities.
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.
MESA joins a letter with 15 NGOs, led by Reporters Without Borders and Free Press Unlimited, to Josep Borrell and Eamon Gilmore of the European Union concerning the case of the Moroccan historian and journalist Maâti Monjib, which MESA's Committee on Academic Freedom (MENA wing) has followed with growing urgency.
MESA has endorsed a letter by the American Council of Learned Societies strongly encouraging Iowa lawmakers to vote against bills which would remove tenure for faculty at Iowa's public universities.
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.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Council of Learned Societies urging the Kansas Board of Regents to withdraw its endorsement of a proposed policy to suspend, dismiss, or terminate employees, including tenured faculty members, without formally declaring a financial emergency.
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.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Philosophical Association concerning the threats to academic freedom posed by the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, which seeks to ban recipients of federal funding from instituting workplace training touching on what the order terms “divisive concepts” involving race.
MESA’s Board of Directors calls on university administrators to robustly defend the academic freedom of their faculty, students, and staff within Zoom and other corporate-controlled virtual meeting platforms.
ACLS Joint Statement: COVID-19 and the Key Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the United States
MESA has signed a statement on behalf of the humanities and social sciences in institutions of American higher education, coordinated in conjunction with the American Council of Learned Societies, attesting to the importance of study and research at this critical moment of crises.
Letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Concerning Its Decision to End Visa Exemptions for International Students
MESA has cosigned the letter from the MLA and other ACLS constituents to ICE concerning the revocation of temporary visa exemptions for international students and faculty members for the upcoming academic year.
MESA has endorsed the Middle East Librarians Association Statement on Collection Development, Access, and Equity in the time of COVID-19 issued June 22, 2020. The statement concerns the preservation of funding allocations for acquiring materials from the region and other related issues.
MESA has cosigned the American Philosophical Association statement regarding xenophobia, discrimination, and racism, including acts of violence, against Asians and Asian Americans.
MESA has cosigned the American Sociological Association's statement asking institutions of higher education to be flexible with requirements and policies for students. We as scholarly societies encourage colleges and universities to offer all appropriate accommodations to students, given the uncertainty and stress caused by the unparalleled disruptions to our educational community.
MESA calls on academic institutions to protect both the labor rights and the academic freedom of students and scholars of the Middle East, particularly the most vulnerable among us, during the great uncertainty and new dangers caused by the lockdown and the shift to online teaching. Institutes of higher education need to develop policies that prioritize the intellectual rights and the internet security of faculty and students.
MESA has cosigned MLA's statement regarding academic labor and COVID-19, urging flexibility and empathy among faculty, students, and staff at institutions of higher education, including not only material support but also ethical imagination and commitment from academic institutes to both the individual and shared challenges facing our communities during this unprecedented pandemic.
Review and Reappointment Processes For Tenure Line and Contingent Faculty During the COVID-19 Crisis
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), in collaboration with scholarly societies led by the American Sociological Association (ASA), commends institutions of higher education for quickly taking steps to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and encourages all universities and colleges to consider appropriate temporary adjustments to their review and reappointment processes for tenure line and contingent faculty.