The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday that it expects Florida State University to prevent the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), with which it is an institutional partner, from operating a boycott of Israel on its campus.
Earlier this month, MESA members voted during their annual meeting to hold a referendum next year on a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Responding Wednesday to questions about the proposed MESA boycott posed by Legal Insurrection, DeSantis’ office shared a statement rejecting “discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people, including boycotts and divestments targeting Israel (the BDS movement).”
“It is our expectation that Florida State University will not permit MESA to operate a boycott of Israel through a public institution, will not accept the academic boycott of Israel, and will not allow university funds to be paid indirectly or directly to any organization that endorses BDS,” the statement continued. “The same goes for any other institution that receives state funding.”
Several other MESA institutional partners, including California State University, University of Arizona, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and University of Michigan, are also in states that have adopted measures against using public funds to support BDS.
The Academic Engagement Network, which opposes efforts to delegitimize Israel on campus, said this month that a MESA boycott “will inevitably and inequitably — discriminate against, exclude, and isolate Israeli scholars by singling out the Israeli academy for boycott.”
The proposed boycott was also lambasted as a threat to academic freedom by a group of progressive academics earlier this week.
Florida State University did not return The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.