May 24, 2010
In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGERUS Campuses sign a letter saying the Israeli Ambassador is welcome at their universities. WASHINGTON – More than 50 student body presidents at campuses across America have signed a letter saying Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is welcome at their universities. The letter follows incidents in which a speech by Oren was disrupted at the University of California-Irvine and some Brandeis students expressed opposition to him as their commencement speaker. “We would be delighted – and honored – to welcome you to our campuses any time,” the letter says, calling the behavior at other universities “absurd and offensive” and stressing the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship. “I thought it was important that we show there isn’t this uprising of students against Israel,” explained Brandon Carroll, the outgoing student government president at Virginia Tech University. “There are a lot of students who are very supportive” of Israel. Carroll, troubled by what he saw at Brandeis and UC-Irvine, last week turned to his campus’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee representative, who he said suggested circulating such a letter, which they then drafted together. So far the signatories include student body presidents at George Washington, Tufts and Vanderbilt universities, the historically black Morehouse College, and Christian schools including Liberty and Dallas Baptist universities. Carroll is hoping to have 100 names on the letter before sending it. Oren is to deliver the commencement address at Brandeis on Sunday and at Yeshiva University on Wednesday.