University of Alberta

Statement by President Indira Samarasekera on proposed UK boycott of Israeli universities and scholars

July 3, 2007

As president of the University of Alberta, I join my colleagues at McGill University, York University, the University of Montreal, Concordia University, University of British Columbia, and several US universities in condemning the boycott of Israeli universities and scholars proposed by the UK's University and College Union.

To boycott an institution or group of people based on nationality or religious affiliation is antithetical to everything that higher education stands for.  In particular, this boycott is assault upon the free exchange of ideas, an assault upon the free exchange of ideas, an assault upon protections from political coercion, and an assault upon debate and dialogue between those with differing views that have underpinned higher education for centuries.

We as an institution have no tolerance for the prejudice that lies behind such a reprehensible boycott and urge the University and College Union to withdraw its action immediately.