Kudos to The Sun's editorial board for correctly characterizing the Israel boycott by the American Studies Association for what it is — a clumsy, ill-conceived attempt to isolate the only true democracy in the Middle East ("The virtue of engagement," July 13). One has to wonder who came up with the idea of eliminating discourse rather than encouraging it in this region where mutual understanding is a necessary first step to dispute resolution. A boycott of thoughts and ideas is completely at odds with the culture of learning at forward-focused centers of higher education.

As a member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, I am truly proud of the stance taken by President Wallace Loh and Provost Mary Ann Rankin at the University of Maryland. Similar comments critical of the boycott were made by our outstanding Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan and President Freeman Hrabowski at UMBC.

Hopefully, with so many good people speaking out, the boycott will end and free speech and the unimpeded exchange of ideas will be encouraged.

Gary L. Attman, Pasadena

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