Letters: U-M Professor’s Discriminatory Actions
The international notoriety of the Cheney-Lippold BDS affair (“Israel Bias,” Sept. 27, page 18) at the University of Michigan has not gone unnoticed by those of us in Israel with Michigan roots, connections and family.
The university’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, in which Prof. John Cheney-Lippold teaches, is explicitly “committed to a campus environment where all students, faculty and staff feel welcomed and valued, and where all are able to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities that make LSA the premier public liberal arts institution in the nation.”
In reneging upon his agreement to write a letter of recommendation for a student because (and only because) the student was pursuing acceptance at an Israeli academic institution, Prof. Cheney-Lippold falsely claimed that writing a recommendation letter for the student would be contrary to his department’s academic boycott of Israel policy, when, in fact, the stated policy of the university at large was specifically to not engage in academic boycotts.
One metric by which university faculty are evaluated is service to the university. Falsely misrepresenting the university’s explicit policy and bringing international opprobrium to the university is the antithesis of service to the university (never mind that such actions may run contrary to state and federal anti-discrimination laws).
The University of Michigan’s apparent tolerance of such discriminatory actions by its faculty members can advance neither the university’s mission nor the prospects for success of its current, former and future students.
— Kenneth Ryesky
Petach Tikva, Israel