The principle of academic freedom cited in The Sun's March 10 editorial "A chilling effect" protects academics from having their research, publishing and teaching judged according to extraneous moral, religious or political criteria, and from being punished for expressing controversial, unpopular and even incendiary ideas.

However, academic freedom does not require the state to fund such purely political activity as membership in an organization which promotes a discriminatory boycott that targets Israeli scholars and institutions, thereby undermining the public policies of creating a globally networked university system, and developing and expanding Maryland's economic ties with Israel.

While faculty and students of public universities are entitled to advocate on behalf of causes as morally repugnant, pernicious and anti-Semitic as boycotting Israel, the pending legislation ensures that the expense of doing so is not borne by Maryland's taxpayers.

Jay Bernstein, Baltimore

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