Trinity College Dublin has undermined academic freedom

Any and all links to Israeli universities will apparently now be up for debate at TCD

Letter of the Day

Sir, – Your recent editorial on the agreement that ended the Trinity College Gaza protests does not accurately represent the terms of this deal (“The Irish Times view on the Trinity College protest: a big win for student activism”, May 10th).

You state that, as part of the compromise, TCD will establish a taskforce to “consider further divestment from companies linked to the occupied territories”.

The plan detailed on Trinity’s website, however, is significantly different, and states that: “Trinity will endeavour to divest from investments in other Israeli companies”, without qualifiers regarding links to occupied territories. Indeed, Trinity’s current policy statements give no indication that it will target for divestment only those companies with links to illegal settlements or occupied territories. Moreover, your editorial does not mention an aspect of the agreement that is arguably more central to TCD’s identity and future: Trinity’s taskforce will also “consider links to Israeli universities”.

While this language is very vague, it is reasonable to assume that the taskforce might recommend that TCD discourage future collaborations with Israeli academics. (Again, there is no mention of illegal settlements; any and all links to Israeli universities will apparently be up for debate.)

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Allowing researchers to conduct their studies as they and their academic peers see fit -- free from political interference – is a cornerstone of academic freedom, and such a move would significantly undermine this important principle. – Yours, etc,

COLM P KELLEHER,

Cambridge,

Massachusetts, US.

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