The ideals of the modern academy too are fragile and vulnerable. We are witnessing their subordination to a political agenda even as supporters of the boycott movement try to mitigate the horror of their proposals by drawing a distinction between shunning Israeli academic institutions and discriminating against individual Israeli scholars.
Here's some advice for students who value intellectual safety over intellectual freedom: Check out the University of Illinois, which over the past 15 months has spent over two million dollars to keep the innocent young minds of its students safe from the "anti-Semitic" ideas and "uncivil" expression of Steven Salaita.
The statement, which can be adapted to all universities -- not just the University of Chicago -- guarantees "all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn." Most importantly, it makes clear that "it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive."
Steven Salaita is absolutely right to say that the University of Illinois's "actions threaten principles of free speech, academic freedom, and critical thought that should be the foundation of any university." It is just that he and his friends in the boycott community are doing exactly the same thing for the same bad reasons.