MESA Board Joint Statement with CAF updating and responding to campus repression

    The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association and its Committee on Academic Freedom decry in the strongest of terms the growing number of cases of colleges and universities calling on police to repress campus protests against the ongoing genocide in Gaza. We also deplore actions and statements from officials that seek to delegitimize student and faculty activists and their criticism of the war.

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    MESA Board Joint Statement with CAF concerning escalating repression of protest on campuses

    The MESA Board of Directors and its Committee on Academic Freedom view with alarm the attempts to intimidate, repress, and criminalize campus protests against the ongoing Israeli state violence against Palestinians. We call upon college and university boards of trustees, presidents, and administrations across the country immediately to clearly and forcefully recommit themselves to the freedom of inquiry, expression, and protest on campus that have been pillars of the US academy for decades.

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    MESA Board Joint Statement with CAF regarding the ongoing genocidal violence against the Palestinian people and their cultural heritage in Gaza

    The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association and its Committee on Academic Freedom condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing attack on Gaza by the state of Israel, resulting in the widespread destruction of the built environment and civilian infrastructure of the Gaza Strip with the apparent intention of erasing Palestinian heritage, thereby amounting to cultural genocide.

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    MESA Board Statement on Palestine and Israel

    The MESA Board of Directors is heartbroken by the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives over the last week. There can be no justification for the targeting of civilians. We join our members directly affected in grief, and we join all who are committed to a political solution that offers safety, dignity, and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis. We are deeply concerned about the cumulative effect of the Israeli siege and bombardment of Gaza, resulting in massive death, displacement and destruction — including the bombing of schools and universities — imperiling, among many other things, the possibility of access to education for generations of Gazan students indefinitely. We also reaffirm the right and ability of students, faculty, and staff at universities across North America (and elsewhere) to express their viewpoints free of harassment, intimidation, and threats to their livelihoods and safety. MESA calls on university leaders and administrations to oppose all forms of discrimination, including anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism and anti-Semitism, and to affirmatively assert and protect the right to academic freedom and freedom of speech on their campuses.

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    Joint letter from BRISMES, SeSaMO and MESA to Israeli authorities regarding Khaled El Qaisi

    The Italian Society for Middle East Studies (SeSaMO), the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) and the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) have written to express concern for the detained Italian-Palestinian student Khaled El Qaisi. SeSaMO, BRISMES and MESA call upon the relevant authorities to intervene to ensure his immediate release.

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    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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