West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee has issued the following statement on the American Studies Association’s proposed boycott of Israel:
In December 2013, the membership of the American Studies Association (ASA), a non-profit organization dedicated to interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, passed a resolution to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education out of concern for human rights. This action has spurred a sharp debate among scholars within and outside of ASA focused on freedom of speech and the most appropriate ways to examine, analyze, debate, and resolve social conflict. As a land-grant institution, West Virginia University firmly believes in the fundamental mission of providing access to all. Access not only to education and opportunity, but also to differing opinions and vigorous debate. Lively and varied discussions often lead to innovation, discoveries, and leadership. Therefore, we strongly oppose the boycott issued by the American Studies Association of Israeli academic institutions. We urge all academic institutions and associations to remain places where divergent ideas are encouraged and exchanged freely.