Irvine, Calif., Dec. 23, 2013 – UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake and Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman have issued a statement regarding a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions:

“Members of the American Studies Association recently approved a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli higher-education institutions. This action spurred debate within the academic community, with some scholars supporting the resolution and others withdrawing their ASA membership in protest.

“UC Irvine strongly opposes any boycott of academic institutions. While we support the right to free expression, we believe the ASA resolution interferes with academic freedom.  We stand behind the position recently announced by the Association of American Universities (, which was signed by Chancellor Michael Drake as a member of AAU’s Executive Committee.

“In recent years, UC Irvine has formed partnerships with educational institutions throughout the world, including those in the Middle East. Our students, representing a mosaic of diverse cultures, religions and political perspectives, established bonds with students in Israel and Palestine through the Olive Tree Initiative. These first-hand relationships lead to greater understanding and empathy, helping us break through the barriers of prejudice and highlight the power of education for all people. A boycott, on the other hand, narrows our world view and stifles the intellectual exchange that is central to our mission.

“As we enter the new year, we will continue to value our international partnerships – in the Middle East and throughout the world – and encourage other scholars to do so as well.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving high-tech hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.

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