Open Letter and Petition to CUPE 3903 Re: OUWCC Motion #1 passed February 22, 2009
Dear CUPE 3903 executive, We, the undersigned members of CUPE 3903 and non-member York University graduate students and faculty, oppose the proposal to boycott Israeli academic institutions. We feel that the OUWCC Motion 1 is one-sided and unethical. Moving ahead with this proposal represents a violation of basic academic freedom. We are members with varying opinions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other political conflicts. We come from different political, religious and cultural backgrounds. However, we are united in our indignation that our representing union has stepped beyond the parameters of its duties using our names to do so. CUPE 3903 representatives offered their support to OUWCC Motion 1 without consultation with the membership at large. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions as proposed in OUWCC Motion 1 does not only impinge on academic freedom, but it can also escalate the tension on university campuses and lead to events such as the recent clash in the York University Students’ Centre. Rather than engaging in activities promoting isolation and discrimination, CUPE 3903 should concentrate on advancing informed, unbiased debate. We echo the voices of our fellow members at the University of Toronto CUPE 3902, University of Western Ontario and CUPE National. We urge CUPE 3903 to reject this motion and instead adopt a policy similar to the McMaster Peace Initiative (http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/story.cfmid=5979).