Letter from the California Scholars for Academic Freedom (CS4AF)

December 16, 2011


Jolene Koester, President                                            cc: Harry Hellenbrand, Provost
Office of the President                                                     Office of the Provost

California State University, Northridge
University Hall, Room 200
18111 Nordhoff Street
California 91330-8230


Dear President  Koester,

California Scholars for Academic Freedom ** is aware of recent political pressure on California State University, Northridge, to remove a web site critical of Israel, and to punish the faculty creator of the web site, Professor David Klein. We received a copy of your letter in response to this political pressure and we are writing to express our appreciation for your defense of free speech and academic freedom.

As university faculty members, we are well aware of attempts by special interest groups to stifle critical discussion of the Middle East, and especially the Palestine/Israel conflict. By singling out individual faculty, these groups have tried to create an environment of intimidation, with a chilling effect on freedom of teaching, inquiry, and political activism. In such a poisonous atmosphere it is essential to have educational leaders, such as yourself, genuinely committed to academic freedom.

Thank you for standing up for this core value of education.


**California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Contact Information: 

Manzar Foroohar
History Department

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Sondra Hale, Professor
Anthropology and Women’s Studies

University of California, Los Angeles


**CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM is a four-year-old group of more than 150 academics who teach in over 20 California educational institutions. The group formed as a response to a rash of violations of academic freedom that were arising from both the post-9/11/2001 climate of  civil rights violations and to the increasing attacks on progressive educators by neo-conservatives. Many attacks were aimed at scholars of Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern descent or at scholars researching and teaching about the Middle East, Arab and Muslim communities. Our goal of protecting California Scholars and students based mainly in institutions of higher education has grown broader in scope. We recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere.