AAUP Letter to NYU President Raises Concerns about Zoom Censorship

The AAUP sent a letter yesterday to New York University president Andrew Hamilton to express concern about the academic freedom implications of a decision by the Zoom webinar platform to cancel an October 23 event hosted by the NYU chapter of the AAUP and co-sponsored by NYU departments and institutes. Apparently cancelled because of the participation of a Palestinian activist accused of terrorist activity, Leila Khaled, the event was organized as part of a national day of action to protest Zoom's previous censorship of a webinar at San Francisco State University with Khaled as a panel discussion participant.

The letter—signed by AAUP president Irene Mulvey and by the chair of the AAUP's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, Henry Reichman—discusses the response by San Francisco State University president Lynn Mahoney to the cancellation of the earlier event. President Mahoney has asserted that the SFSU panel discussion did not violate Zoom's terms of service or the law and that her university "remains steadfast in its support of the right of faculty to conduct their teaching and scholarship free from censorship." The AAUP letter urges President Hamilton to issue a similarly strong statement from NYU against Zoom's act of censorship and to work with other college and university presidents "to ensure that Zoom and other private providers cannot exert veto power over legitimate university activities and classes in violation of academic freedom."

Read the letter.



Publication Date: 
Thursday, October 29, 2020