Over 80 members of the Brandeis University faculty sent a letter to the school’s president earlier this month, demanding the school withdraw its honorary degree invitation to women’s rights activist and critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Brandeis rescinded the invitation to Hirsi Ali last week, prompting a public backlash from Hirsi Ali’s supporters.
In the April 6 letter, faculty members called on Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to drop Hirsi Ali from the ceremony because of comments she has made about her opposition to Islam.
“We are writing to urge you to rescind immediately the invitation to Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali for an honorary doctorate, a decision about which we are shocked and dismayed, owing to her virulently anti-Muslim public statements,” wrote the faculty members. “We are saddened that Brandeis would choose to honor such a divisive individual at commencement, a moment of unity for the Brandeis community.”
The letter cited comments made by Hirsi Ali, “including Islam is the new fascism” and her contention that Islam must be “defeated.”
The full letter can be read here.
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is still scheduled to accept an honorary degree at the Brandeis commencement ceremony next month.