Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Meet John Cheney-Lippold, The Radical University Of Michigan Professor Refusing To Write A Letter For A Student Because She's Studying In Israel

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At

Contact John Cheney-Lippold:


Phone: 734.764.6799

According to his University of Michigan bio:

"Professor Cheney-Lippold teaches and writes on the relationship between digital media, identity, and the concept of privacy. He is the author of We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of our Digital Selves."

Welcome to the Peeople's Republic of Ann Arbor, folks. So, what's going on?

The Algemeiner describes it best:

"In an email sent on September 5, Professor John Cheney-Lippold told the student, who had taken a course with him during the Spring 2018 semester, that he would have to rescind an earlier offer to write a letter of recommendation due to “politics.”

“I am very sorry, but I only scanned your first email a couple weeks ago and missed out on a key detail,” wrote Cheney-Lippold, who teaches in the Department of American Culture’s Digital Studies program.

“As you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine,” he said in reference to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
The movement says it seeks “to isolate Israel academically, culturally, economically and militarily” until it abides by key Palestinian demands. Critics accuse it of rejecting the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and aiming to dismantle the Jewish state, a goal supported by the campaign’s co-founder.

Cheney-Lippold noted that the academic boycott forbids “writing letters of recommendation for students planning to study” in Israel — a stipulation included in the official BDS guidelines."

The article notes that U of M leaders disagree with the decision.
"Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the University of Michigan, told The Algemeiner on Monday that the school “has consistently opposed any boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education.”

“No academic department or any other unit at the University of Michigan has taken a position that departs from this long-held university position,” he confirmed.

“The academic goals of our students are of paramount importance. It is the university’s position to take all steps necessary to make sure our students are supported,” Fitzgerald continued. “It is disappointing that a faculty member would allow their personal political beliefs to limit the support they are willing to otherwise provide for our students.”

He said the school will engage its faculty colleagues “in deep discussions to clarify how the expression of our shared values plays out in support of all students.”

Stay tuned!

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at


  1. Ron Wieser, a UM Regent, has no courage to address this. Sad.

  2. And how do you know that Bill? Do you know what actions he has or has not taken?

  3. Urge University Leaders to Protect Students From the Effects of the Academic Boycott of Israel