Guide and Resource Book for University Leaders

In November 2016, AEN published Academic Freedom, Freedom of Expression, and the BDS Movement: A Guide and Resource Book for University Leaders, directed at university leaders, namely presidents, chancellors, provosts, and deans.


The aim of this publication is to inform university leaders about the challenges that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement pose for universities and colleges and for academic values. The book offers constructive guidance and a range of suggestive examples about effective responses to such challenges when they appear.

The Guide is organized in two parts: the first part is titled “BDS, Academic Freedom, Free Speech, and the University,” and includes sections on the rise of BDS, on BDS campaigns for boycott and divestment, and also on BDS-inspired efforts at the disruption of free expression by others on campus. While BDS speech is constitutionally protected speech, BDS goals and methods are sources of challenges to academic freedom and freedom of expression. A key feature of the guide is its emphasis on the importance of university and college leaders speaking out forcefully against the methods employed by BDS, especially where they impinge on academic freedom and freedom of expression. The second part is titled “Student Conduct Codes and Procedures,” and explores the many ways in which well-constructed codes of conduct and thoughtful protocols for enforcing them at difficult moments can help universities and colleges protect freedom of expression.

The Guide contains several appendices: selected university leadership statements, recent initiatives, and examples of responsible student conduct codes and procedures. The Guide also includes some guide sheets and handouts developed by professional organizations with which the Academic Engagement Network works cooperatively. These include the Anti-Defamation League, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and others.

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2022 AEN Guide and Resource Book Available Now