March 19, 2024

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Near Eastern Studies Faculty Statement Against Interim Policy

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To the Editor: 

We, the undersigned faculty of Near Eastern Studies, write to express our grave concern in regards to the new Interim Expressive Activity Policy.  These policies are not only diametrically opposed to the values espoused by the theme year of “The Indispensable Condition: Freedom of Expression at Cornell,” they are contrary to Cornell’s mission to educate thoughtful and critically-minded global citizens. 

Our students should be allowed to engage in disruptive peaceful protest as a critical form of expression freely and without fear. The Interim Policy cultivates instead an atmosphere of intolerance and surveillance put into place through authoritarianism and overreach.

As scholars of the Middle East, we are unfortunately familiar with repressive regimes hostile to student protest and critique. It is all the more disturbing then, to find such sentiments and policies being put into place at home.

— Near Eastern Studies Department Faculty  

Jonathan Boyarin

Ross Brann

Ziad Fahmy

Seema Golestaneh

Kim Haines-Eitzen

Lori Khatchadourian

Jonathan Lawrence

Jason Mokhtarian

Christopher Monroe

Lauren Monroe

Deborah Starr

Parisa Vaziri

Makda Wetherspoon

Munther Younes