The Executive Committee of the American Studies Association Condemns the UAE's travel Ban on Researchers March 20, 2015
The American Studies Association (ASA) Executive Committee is gravely concerned that the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently banned entry to New York University (NYU) professor and ASA member Andrew Ross. Professor Ross, who is a researcher and critic of the systematic abuse of migrant labor in the Emirates and other Gulf states, was prevented from boarding a flight to Abu Dhabi for supposed “security reasons.”
In opening its Abu Dhabi campus, substantially funded by the UAE government, the NYU administration assured worried faculty and students that academic freedom would be protected there. But the ban on travel for research by an NYU professor constitutes a flagrant breach of this principle. The ASA calls on the NYU administration and our sister academic organizations to denounce this and other government interferences in travel for research.
The ASA is an academic organization consisting of over 5000 members from the United States and around the world. We are the oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history in a global context, supporting scholars, teachers, administrators, writers, critical thinkers and activists around the world. In pursuit of these goals over the decades, the ASA has evolved into one of the leading scholarly organizations known for taking action in the worlds of politics and policy to create and defend conditions for open debate and the pursuit of meaningful, engaged scholarship and teaching. Given the ASA’s commitment to social justice and history of solidarity with labor, the Executive Committee of the ASA strongly condemns the UAE’s ban on travel for researchers critical of their labor practices.