N.Y.U. Journalism Faculty Boycotts Abu Dhabi Campus

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The New York Times: Journalism professors at New York University are refusing to teach at the school’s Abu Dhabi campus, after officials in the United Arab Emirates denied a faculty member a visa to teach there. That denial is a risk to academic freedom and the university’s administration has failed to speak out forcefully enough, the journalism faculty said.

Mohamad Bazzi, a journalism professor, is one of at least two N.Y.U. faculty members whose visas have been rejected this year by the United Arab Emirates, which have given no reason for the denial. But Professor Bazzi, who was born in Lebanon, and Arang Keshavarzian, a professor of Middle Eastern politics whose visa application was also denied, believe it may be in part because they are Shiite Muslims, an affiliation they were asked to disclose on their applications.

Abu Dhabi, the largest of the emirates, is ruled by a royal family from the Sunni Muslim tradition, and it has a troubling history when it comes to academic freedom and human rights.

A group describing itself as a majority of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s faculty wrote to the university president, Andrew D. Hamilton, on Nov. 2. In the letter, the group said, “We have not been given an explanation for the denial of these visas, but if it was for reasons of religious affiliation, or because of our colleagues’ writing and research, it would represent a significant threat to academic freedom on that campus.”  Read more.

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