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… students are not consumers owed letters of recommendation in exchange for
their tuition payments, and that academics have the right to withhold
references for any number of reasons — such as time or familiarity with the
student. Controversy arises, he said, when instructors are honest about the
way their political commitments shape their academic responsibilities.

“If a union asks me not to buy a grape from a certain producer, or not to
cross a picket line, I would support that,” he said. “It’s the same thing
here. Following requests from Palestinian and Jewish activists, I find the
boycott against Israeli state institutions to be a very useful way to put
pressure where I can as an academic.”
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