Laurentian University statement on the academic boycott of Israeli universities

being considered by Britain’s University and College Union


Sudbury (Ontario) - Laurentian University’s Senate, at its regular September 2007 meeting, voted unanimously to condemn the contemplated boycott of Israeli universities proposed by Britain’s University and College Union (U.C.U.). In doing so, Laurentian upholds the fundamental principle of freedom of speech and enquiry, and defends the open exchange of ideas among academics.


President Dr. Judith Woodsworth joins her voice to other university presidents and chancellors world-wide in expressing disapproval of the boycott: “I believe that the freedom to debate ideas, to listen and to learn from the views of others, is fundamental to the very existence of universities, and is more likely, in a pluralistic world, to resolve conflicts and lead to mutual understanding, than simply closing down dialogue,” she stated. “Laurentian is committed, on its campus, to maintaining the freedom of individuals to study, teach and do research in a climate free of harassment, intimidation or discrimination, and regardless of anyone’s political opinions about the policies and practices of particular national governments.”


The U.K.’s University and College Union will debate and vote, by November 2007, on a call by Palestinian trade unions to boycott all Israeli academic institutions, with the U.C.U. stating that Israeli academia is complicit in “annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement” in Palestinian lands.



Guylaine Tousignant

Media relations officer

Laurentian University

(705) 675-1151, ext. 3406


For immediate distribution Tuesday, September 25, 2007