Stand up for academic freedom at Columbia College: What you can do‏


 “Academic freedom entails not only the right to speak from a particular perspective, but the freedom from being compelled to engage in a particular type of speech,” said Chehade. “The frequent demand from apologists for Israeli colonialism that any discussion of the conflict be ‘balanced’ would be considered absurd in most other contexts. For example, must every presentation about the African-American civil rights movement include a speaker who will attempt to justify the denial of these rights?”

Stand up for academic freedom:
Why is Palestine taboo at Columbia College?

What you can do
Columbia College students, faculty and community members are organizing a campaign to defend academic freedom after Columbia College administrators retaliated against an instructor for the content of his course about the Israel/Palestine conflict (background below).
1. Sign the petition and circulate it to your friends on social media

The petition is available at
2. Call-in days to Columbia College administrators

Please email/call these Columbia College administrators on Tuesday, March 11, and Wednesday, March 12.
Talking points: I’m calling/writing to urge Columbia College to respect academic freedom. Columbia College should not retaliate against Prof. Chehade for screening a widely acclaimed film about Palestinians struggling against their oppression.
University education should be about preparing students to be active participants in the world and to think critically about political and historical narratives. A student’s expression of discomfort with classroom materials should be the starting point for a conversation, not an excuse to muzzle professors.Who to contact:
Louise Love, VP Academic Affairs, (312) 369-7495,
Deborah Holdstein, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (312) 369-8219,
Steven Corey, chair of Humanities History and Social Sciences, (312) 369-7844, scorey@colum.eduFacebook event:

3. Come to a March 20 public forum “Why is Palestine taboo at Columbia College?”Featuring Prof. Iymen Chehade; Ali Abunimah, America’s best known advocate for Palestinian rights and author most recently of The Battle for Justice in Palestine; John Wilson of the American Association of University Professors-Illinois; and Columbia college students Ava Ginsburg and Ahmed Hamad, who are both members of Students for Justice in Palestine/Jewish Voice for Peace at Columbia College. After the speaker presentations, there will be ample time for audience discussion and debate. (Flyer attached below)
Facebook event page is here:

4. Come to the next organizing meeting on Sunday, March 16

If you’d like to help with organizing this campaign, our next meeting will take place March 16 at 2 pm at Cafecito, 26 E. Congress Parkway, in Chicago’s Loop. See you there!
As part of his course, Columbia College Prof. Iymen Chehade screens the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, which depicts popular resistance to Israeli military occupation. After a student alleged that the film showed that Chehade’s course is “biased,” Chehade was summoned for a meeting with Dr. Steven Corey, who is the chair of the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. Corey told Chehade to teach his course in a more “balanced” manner, and then Columbia College withdrew one section of his course just hours after it had been made available to students registering for classes.


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